The “La Dolce Vita” Movie In Three Alternative Adjectives
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!
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?”
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.
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.”