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La Dolce Vita (1960)
Methinks that those who rave so much about this film have been seduced as badly as Marcello.
8 July 2005
Yes, I too found this movie very engaging, intriguing and technically beautiful to watch. But, but, but.... not one of the best movies in the world, not one to take on a desert island with me, not life changing or as brilliant as people here (and everywhere) seem to think. Perhaps because it is now so outdated, and so much from a spoilt man of the mid twentieth century's point of view. I appreciate it and respect it for what it is, and I'm sure I don't get half of its symbolism. I love its mode of narrative, the large ensemble scenes which I can see have influenced Robert Altman and many other great film makers.

But...methinks that those who rave so much about this film have been seduced as badly as Marcello. Who cares about the bloody lifestyles of the rich and famous? Is this really the place to find meaning? I would find a film about the life of the girl Paolo and her family much more meaningful and worthy of my attention. And like in "8 1/2" one has to wonder if Fellini himself would agree - what is the point of making such a film at all? I'm not against art about the aristocracy or the rich and their decline but would prefer something more complex - like "Brideshead Revisited" (the novel) for example. But ultimately it is hard to feel sorry for such people, especially Marcello. His utter contempt for himself at the end of the movie was well deserved and left me depressed and disgusted. I found his degenerate fall just too trite though, using the excuse of Steiner's murder/suicide as justification (a plot twist which while shocking, did not ring true for me). Maybe I'm just not an existentialist.

I might have found this movie more enlightening if I had seen it ten years ago when I was in my twenty's when I was living my own (much tamer!) version of the sweet life, who knows. Certainly we have all been there when we realise that parties, sex, alcohol, beautiful people and sophisticated talk is not all there is to life. Duh! No, for a true, kick in the guts, life changing movie about the inauthenticity of our socially constructed world, and the struggle of the individual to wake up and break free, you can't go past "American Beauty" or "The Truman Show", or many other wonderful movies out there that I feel are far more deserving of the label "classic" and of the adulation that this film seems to inspire.
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