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La Dolce Vita
The Sweet Life / Das Süsse Leben

Italy/France 1960
produced by
Giuseppe Amato, Angelo Rizzoli, Franco Magli (executive) for Gray-Film, Riama Film, Pathé
directed by Federico Fellini
starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée, Yvonne Furneaux, Magali Noel, Alain Cuny, Annibale Ninchi, Walter Santesso, Lex Barker, Valeria Ciangottini, Riccardo Garone, Ida Galli, Audrey McDonald, Polidor, Alain Dijon, Enzo Cerusico, Giulio Paradisi, Enzo Doria, Enrico Glori, Adriana Moneta, Massimo Bussetti, Mino Doro, Giulio Girola, Laura Betti, Nico, Domino, Carlo Musto, Jacques Sernas, Nadia Gray, Adriano Celentano
story by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, screenplay by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi, music by Nino Rota, song by Adriano Celentano

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Flix.com

Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni) is a society reporter who on one hand wants to quit his job to write a serious novel - but on the other hand the life within the high society pleases him way too much to actually give it up. So he throws himself in a series of meaningless relationships, like the his on-again-off-again affair with socialite Maddalena (Anouk Aimée), with whom he at one point has to have sex in a prostitute's appartment to evade the cameras of paparazzi, or his affair with American moviestar Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), who fascinates him, but the affair with her ends with a bang when her (usually drunk) boyfriend Robert (Lex Barker) knocks him down ... but all these affairs break the heart of his regular girlfriend Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) repeatedly - however, Marcello can never muster up enough courage to break up with her, instead he just lets his life as society reporter take him wherever it is, be it to a fake seance or an even more fake miracle, when 2 children claim to have seen the Virgin Mary.

One day Marcello meets his father (Annibale Ninchi), but realizes he has nothing in common with the man whom he has never really got to know. However, he lends him Maddalena for the night ...

Ultimately, Marcello learns that his best friend, the intellectual Steiner (Alain Cuny) has shot his two children and then himself. At this point something breaks in Marcello, and he now throws himself into a nightlife of alcohol and orgies, which culminates in a scene where he gravely overdoes it and - with some other guests of the orgy - is thrown out. He and the others walk along a beach in the morning son, when they, a group of socialites, see a group of simple fishermen drag a seamonster ashore ...

 


Flix.com

It's hard to write a comprehensive and accurate to La Dolce Vita (and subsequent Fellini-films) because with this film, Federico Fellini has more or less given up the classical narrative structure of his earlier, (neo)realist films and developed his own brand of symbolism (which wouldn't come nto full swing until later movies though). The lack of any kind of stringent narration does not work against the film though, quite the contrary: La Dolce Vita, living from strong images and a direction that makes every scene a setpiece, is nowadays considered a work of art - and rightly so. The film is nothing short of impressive.

 

Finally, let me end this review on a little piece of trivia: The expression paparazzi that we nowadays all know (and fear) is said to have originated from this film. Paparazzo was the name of Marcello's photographer, played by Walter Santesso.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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written by
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