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La Dolce Vita (1960)

La dolce vita (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 19 April 1961 (USA)
A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome.

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Writers:

(story), (story) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Maddalena (as Anouk Aimee)
...
Emma
...
Fanny (as Magali Noel)
...
Robert - marito di Sylvia
...
Il padre di Marcello
Walter Santesso ...
...
Il divo
Riccardo Garrone ...
Riccardo
Valeria Ciangottini ...
Paola
...
Nadia
Alain Cuny ...
Ida Galli ...
Debuttante dell'anno
Audrey McDonald ...
Jane
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Storyline

Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome's elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer. Written by Jeff Lewis

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Roman Scandals - Bound to shock with its truth! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

19 April 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La Dolce Vita  »

Box Office

Gross:

$19,516,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere) | (re-release) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It seems that term "paparazzo" was coined by Federico Fellini himself. Paparazzo means "sparrow" in one Italian dialect (in normal usage the Italian for "sparrow" is "passero"). Fellini explained that the photographers hopping and scurrying around celebrities reminded him of sparrows. See more »

Goofs

During the "Madonna" scene at about 1:04, the amount of tape on the reels of the recorder changes between the wide shots and the close-ups. See more »

Quotes

Marcello Rubini: You are the first woman on the first day of creation. You are mother, sister, lover, friend, angel, devil, earth, home.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ramses: 1959 De trein naar het Noorden (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Mama (He's Making Eyes At Me )
(uncredited)
Written by Sidney Clare and Con Conrad
See more »

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User Reviews

Complex And Rambling
22 May 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Mostly because of the terrific high contrast, B&W visuals, and the evocative music, this is the only Fellini film I have seen that I have somewhat enjoyed. I recommend it, but not without reservations. It's a complex film with many textured layers of meaning. And, in typical Fellini fashion, it rambles and it meanders.

Deviating from standard three-Act structure, Fellini's story consists of roughly eight episodes, all starting at night and ending at dawn, more or less. Each has its own crisis. And the only thing that unites these episodes into a coherent whole is the story's protagonist, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni). In his job as a journalist and overall observer of human nature, Marcello encounters people in high society who seem outwardly happy and self-fulfilled. On closer examination, however, these people are empty, hollow, alienated, emotionally adrift and vacant.

A good example is the starlet Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), a glamorous figure, but she's all image and no substance. "La dolce vita" is the first film that uses the concept of "paparazzi", which implies the importance of "image", separate from substance.

Throughout the various episodes Marcello sees these "images" of happiness, of contentment, but the images are deceptive, elusive, unreliable. In one episode, two "miracle" children "see" the Madonna. "The Madonna is over there", shouts one child. The crowd chases after her. But the other child who "sees" the Madonna runs in the opposite direction. Happiness, self-fulfillment, religious visions ... they're all a will-o'-the-wisp. And so, the film conveys a sense of pessimism and cynicism.

The film thus has deep thematic value. It caused a scandal when it was released, and was banned by the Catholic Church, apparently for appearing to be anti-religious.

Yet for all its deep meaning, "La dolce vita" can be a trial to sit through. Somewhere in the second half I began to lose interest. I don't have a problem with Fellini's deviation from standard plot structure. I do have a problem with a director who doesn't know when to quit. This film goes on for almost three hours. A good edit, to delete all the fat, would have tightened up the story and rendered it more potent. As is, it's too strung out, too stretched, too meandering.

If the viewer can persevere, there's enormous cinematic art in this film. And helped along by Nino Rota's music, the film is wonderfully evocative, at times stylishly melancholy.


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