The “La Dolce Vita” Movie In Three Alternative Adjectives

1. Misery-Never-Looked-Better

The appeal of this movie sounds like an ad for a luxury trip to Rome:


“Wanna visit beautiful Italy? Well, we can make it happen for you!

A still frame from the film “La Dolce Vita” by Federico Fellini

You will take a peek at the theatrical dances of the 1960s Via Veneto performers. This baroque scenography is so intense and costume design so editorial that every single scene in this movie could pass for an overwhelming work of art, to such an extent that it makes you figure, ‘Reality would look so much better if it were black and white!’

Now, this is the cinema that makes you feel that way.

Furthermore, you will visit Villa Giustiniani outside Rome in a playful nighttime exploration of its gardens under the light of a lantern; invoke spirits throughout its dark old-fashioned corridor; followed by an echo-chamber experience with the source of sound in the shape of an elegant marble seashell…

You will nothing but end your day with some nighttime bathing in the waters of La Fontana di Trevi (yeah, don’t do that IRL if you don’t wanna get fined) in the company of a grandiose actress who somehow manages to live in the very moment – aaand the moment after that – dancing; wandering down the old Roman alleys; howling along with the Roman wolves…

Not sleeping a wink until the Roman dawn – Every. Single. Day. Of. The. Week! How goode does that sound?”

2. Theater-Of-The-Absurd

No Vladimir and Estragon here, yet dare we say, “La Dolce Vita” is nothing if not Theater of the Absurd.

Italy’s post-war economic ‘Il Boom’ plunged the young aristocracy into some hysterical sleep-around hedonism. Their constant pursuit of amusement turned out to be a wild-goose chase that had them drowning in boredom. The sense of purpose faded into oblivion. As intelligentsia as they thought they were, art was the first to turn expendable and the last to turn paternal.

This is how the absurd environment presented itself to Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” characters: falling into the generation’s lap like a cross they had to bear. The characters are pre-developed and assigned an immediate reaction that comes across loud and clear, yet its consequences are almost exclusively off camera. They’re bored to death, making nonsense of life. Zero action and zero progress with all attempts at any being made a mockery by fate. Life has no meaning. Man is but a worm. Sad.

3. Fear-Of-Solitude

So, we were going about our business taking a long hard look at the puzzling life of protagonist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) (like, why is he stuck in this limbo?!), when, just like that, we came across an interview of director Federico Fellini stating in his own words that what he fears most is solitude.

Having in mind that character Marcello Rubini is but a reflection on Fellini’s temperament (read: his alter ego), we came to the conclusion that said character simply thirsts for but fails to form – a healthy bond. This translates into the everlasting feeling (and fear!) of solitude which his defense mechanism tends to remedy by holding on to unstable relationships, casual crowds, and a party that mustn’t end!

Don’t hold your breath waiting for a scene where he’s alone!

As you might imagine, “La Dolce Vita” is a far more outstanding cinema than what we could ever put into words; but keep in mind it’s been polished both ways (as in both modern and traditional gold) – and it’s kinda like playing raw organ jazz and similar to those sounds coming “from the bowels of the Earth.”

Johnny Boogieman

About Johnny Boogieman (né Johnathan Boogiemanovich Goode) is an American comedy reviewer and a self-proclaimed cinema connoisseur, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. … Johnny grew up on a farm in Louisiana, as the only child of a Louisiana-based field worker, dressmaker, dog hairstylist, dog collar jewelry designer, dog walker for the elderly (dogs and owners), disabled and elderly dog walking aids creator-in-attempt, and homemaker, Dutch single mother. As large a clientele as dogs were for the barely-gasping-for-air family business, they were the proud owners of a single tabby cat alone, a streetwise and self-dependent hunter known by either of the street names Stringer Bell and El Capo (sometimes referred to as El Cato). … Having been amazed by the crazy wild early readings of Jules Verne, Johnny’s school days were spent dreaming he’d someday make for a good storyteller. Hence, as early as fourth grade, eager to prove himself to the world, he went for it and constructed a well-balanced heartbeat-skipping thrilling essay, pointing out to some well-reasoned critique of society and solid character arcs, committing to his talents to the fullest and diving right into that pool of majestic phrasing and complexity of thought, confident he’d soon get bejeweled with a spotless A and a pretty clap by the teacher, with gradually having the whole class join in looking up to him as he emerges from his seat to receive his essay evaluation. When results day came, though, little Johnny not only got a D, but he was mocked by the teacher and class for the gullible overexposure of his fragile overambitious mutating childish writing skills of questionable taste and poor poor quality. It was the “you’re tearing me apart, Lisa” equivalent of a child’s essay. He was rather massacred. He never got that brave ever again. … Anyway, Johnny mainly spent his summers field-working on a sunflower field with his uncle Berry under the widespread wings of the storks and the chesty white doves and clever black crows who all flew right under the neighbor’s umbrella caps patio ceiling installation thingy as soon as the first raindrop was godshed over the one-eyed monsters battalion that the sunflower sea was to Johnny. It drove the unwilling bird host nuts, and he’d storm right out yelling and cursing at the birds, “we’re going, we’re going” they went, and flew a semi-circle over the umbrella caps as to fool him and came right back the other way around pretending to be some fresh arrivals of clueless law-abiding American birds not yet acquainted with the police system of the patio. The guy wouldn’t take it out as it took ages to plant and he and his wife thought it made them look like fancy DIY people who had some ideas worthy of admiration. Oh, the bird manure, though, oh the bird manure. “Work your time, boy” – staring Johnny’s uncle frowned, his eye twinkled. … Cinema was to Johnny what he made plans for, what he made time for, what he looked up to all his life, and as he became a young adult, what he fancied himself to have a special talent to understand. It was the sort of a sixth sense, an intuition, a gut sense. He was the squad movie buff and a film whisperer. “No”, it whispered, “Fight Club ain’t no bueno. Mark my words and don’t ask why ‘cos you ain’t schooled enough to know why, boy.” He tried, though, he debated and disputed over a glass of scotch-on-the-rocks and under the jibe of a saxophone jazz, but it was as fruitless and dull as the poetry he wrote - unclean, uneven, and too abstract - as if he hadn’t found a voice to speak in yet. He did his part for years to come, reading as all writers ought to, writing and not publishing until he found out what he had to say with the peculiar piece of work. As for cinema, it happened one evening as he discussed legs-up-a-recliner their plans for the future with his lover-cum-best friend in their rented one-bedroom living space in New Jersey, that his lover casually contributed: “And then I thought we could start a film blog and you could do the content writing” – words that sunflower field Johnny with his gangster cat and his dewy eyes staring at the rainy-day con birds thought he’d never hear.

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