A bittersweet Dolce Vita


While I was sitting in a bar, reading the Cahiers du Cinéma, drinking Barolo and listening

to Aznavour, I found myself reflecting upon the Felliniesque cinema. The ground-breaking

structures, the oneirism, the iconicity of the Dolce Vita… Hey, wait a moment, I’ve never

seen it!


I feel the need to remedy and, with popcorns on one hand and coffee on the other (after all

it’s a three hour film) I put myself to work.


… three hours later …

First impressions: 1) Mastroianni is super hot

2) Fellini is a poet

3) limitations to imitation required: if you pretend to be Anita Ekberg probably you won’t fall

in your lover’s bed but in a prison one

The film winds in a dozen of episodes that draw a wide fresco of the roman society:

parties, aristocratic palaces, literary salon, here you are la Dolce Vita! The connecting link

is Marcello, writer in crisis who drifts away from his city to explore the Rome of the Sixties.

The structure, absolutely ground-breaking, is the product of that erratic genius which is

Fellini who saddles us 185 minutes of film without making us “pay” for it.

The protagonist is buried in a luxurious and worldly Rome and surrounded by beautiful

women who drag him into orgies and baths in the Trevi Fountain; but pay attention – all

that glitters is not gold!


Going on in fact we discover a reality far from the appearances, with rich but fragile

characters, lost values, empty meetings. The several women that Marcello meets are more

than beautiful but not able to save him, immersed in a world that disgust them and catch

them at the same time; his friend Steiner, a model for the protagonist, isn’t even able to

save himself.


For the careful observers like me (or for the careful readers since I read this on wikipedia)

a religious metaphore is visible. The film in fact opens on the transportation of a Christ

statue which is going to be dropped from an helicopter on a crowd; this crowd is staring at

him apparently but is actually looking to a total different kind of “show”. In the last scene

with an interesting simmetry Paolina (the image of innocence) tries to speak with Marcello

who can’t hear her.


The triumph of paganism above religion?


P.S Little known fact: did you know that the term “paparazzi” was picked up by the surname

of the photographer who always follows Marcello?!


Carolina Vecchi, Jessica Stella