Rome, 1959/60. Marcello Rubini (played by Marcello Mastroianni) is a writer and journalist, the worst kind of journalist - a tabloid journalist, or paparazzo. His job involves him trying to catch celebrities in compromising or embarrassing situations. He tends to get quite close to his subject, especially when they're beautiful women. Two such subjects are a local heiress, Maddalena (Anouk Aimee), and a Swedish superstar-actress, Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), both of whom he has affairs with. This is despite being engaged to Emma (Yvonne Furneaux), a rather clingy, insecure, nagging, melodramatic woman. Despite his extravagant, pleasure-filled lifestyle, he is wondering if maybe a simpler life wouldn't be better.Written by
The film and especially the final beach scene were inspired by the infamous 1953 Wilma Montesi murder case. Montesi was a normal Italian woman from a proper family. Her dead body was found on a beach near Rome. The investigation exposed the drugs and sex orgies of Roman high society at the time. The murder remains unsolved as of today. See more »
At the top of St. Peter's dome the wind blows Sylvia's hat off. The wire on her hat used to achieve this effect is clearly visible trailing off to the right during the scene. See more »
We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should love each other outside of time... detached.
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In the original American release, distributed by American International Pictures, the titles open with the AIP logo and appear over a shot of the sky with clouds. In the current release on DVD - and as shown on TCM - the title sequence is over a black background. When originally released, censors in several countries trimmed certain scenes, including the orgy near the end of the film. See more »
LA DOLCE VITA presents a series of incidents in the life of Roman tabloid reporter Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni)--and although each incident is very different in content they create a portrait of an intelligent but superficial man who is gradually consumed by "the sweet life" of wealth, celebrity, and self-indulgence he reports on and which he has come to crave.
Although the film seems to be making a negative statement about self-indulgence that leads to self-loathing, Fellini also gives the viewer plenty of room to act as interpreter, and he cleverly plays one theme against its antithesis throughout the film. (The suffocation of monogamy vs. the meaninglessness of promiscuity and sincere religious belief vs. manipulative hypocrisy are but two of the most obvious juxtapositions.) But Fellini's most remarkable effect here is his ability to keep us interested in the largely unsympathetic characters LA DOLCE VITA presents: a few are naive to the point of stupidity; most are vapid; the majority (including the leads) are unspeakably shallow--and yet they still hold our interest over the course of this three hour film.
The cast is superior, with Marcello Mastroianni's personal charm particularly powerful. As usual with Fellini, there is a lot to look at on the screen: although he hasn't dropped into the wild surrealism for which he was sometimes known, there are quite a few surrealistic flourishes and visual ironies aplenty--the latter most often supplied by the hordes of photographers that scuttle after the leading characters much like cockroaches in search of crumbs. For many years available to the home market in pan-and-scan only, the film is now in a letterbox release that makes it all the more effective. Strongly recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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