Here is my second post from the IMDB top 250 review series. I have already reviewed Before Sunset, which you can read here. The second film I'm gonna review is an Italian film named La Dolce Vita. It was released in 1960.
Note: I watched the film today but wasn't able to complete it in one go. I watched the film in 4 Parts. I got a hard coded Subtitled version of the film.
La Dolce Vita means the 'sweet life' or 'the good life'.
Story: It's about a reporter (Marcello Mastroianni) of an Italian tabloid, who spends his days and nights socializing in the high society of Rome and writing about what everyone comes to know as "the sweet life".
Throughout the film, we follow him as he encounters a wide variety of different kinds of people, and has he traverses through their lives and their life styles. We see him befriending a famous American actress (Anita Ekberg), an insanely wealthy socialite (Anouk Aimée) who's also his lover, we see his dysfunctional relationship with an overprotective and suicidal girlfriend (Yvonne Furneaux), his adoration for his cultivated and very wise mentor (Alain Cuny), his disinterested and estranged father (Annibale Ninchi) and a colourful cast of other characters who perfectly exemplify precisely that- the "sweet life" of the rich people we've all come to alternately adore and hate.
Quiet frankly I haven't even heard of this film till date and i'm not a fan of Italian films as I haven't seen one yet but after watching this one I *may* go for another one.
This film is lengthy but one can easily watch it in parts as the film is divided into different episodes, just like a book. The film is pacy enough but the time-gap[duh!] will force you to take a break in between.
The very fact that I sat through the entire 3 hours[4-5 Mins break in between] while enjoying myself and never a second feeling bored, probably speaks very much in favor of the film. And mind that I don't have any hesitations about switching the DVD off halfway through if I think the story is going nowhere, or if it actually threatens to put me to sleep. But nothing like that happened in this case. As a "novice" to this genre, I certainly wont be able to claim that I understand the whole meaning and the message Fellini wanted to covey to his viewers. So it will not be easy for me to give you a more detailed insight to the technical aspect of the film.
Probably the two most effective scenes are Sylvia's arrival, and then the Madonna. Both depict people crowding around to see what they perceive to be "cool" things. First a movie star, then a presumed miracle that turns out to be a bust. But they both catch people's attention, serving as an example of the empty world that Marcello inhabits. To crown everything, the end has the same occurrence as the beginning; Marcello's isolation is accentuated by his inability to hear people, and acceptance thereof.
The film is winsome because of the stylish cinematography, which fills the screen with mind-blowing visuals, its epic, enveloping us in the moment, missing nothing and admitting into our view everything that goes on, at times in perspective, at times introspective. The costumes, settings, etc...well, they're amazing. The background score is also fantastic and its worth mentioning considering its a 50 year old film.
Verdict: Too bad, its not in color!
Check below the most famous scene from the film[Anita Ekbark]:
Next in Series - Jurassic Park (1993), which I have already seen many times so it wont be difficult to write one.