As soon as we see Anita Ekberg (Sylvia) in the Trevi Fountain we cannot unconsciously hear the Swedish Junoesque actress shout: “Marcello, come here. Hurry up!”
Sixty years have passed since the release of La Dolce Vita, but the charm of this black and white movie is still alive. The director is Federico Fellini, who won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for the Best costumes.
Between the end of the 50s and the beginning of the 60s in the Cinecittà studios are shot both Italian and American films. These are the years of the post-war II economic expansion, Rome is a living city and people want to live carefree again, immerging themselves in worldly pleasures. Fulcrum of the “Dolce vita” of those years is Via Veneto, due to the presence of luxury hotels and clubs open until down.
Fellini paints with absolute precision the socio-economic picture and corruption of those years, the future prospects of humanity. The scenes exude feelings of irony, bitterness, disgust and boredom, where all the protagonists are looking for something authentic, to escape from this fake reality. These protagonists (Emma, Maddalena, Sylvia, Steiner, Marcello’s father and Paolina) are metaphors for a message within the same film.
Structurally La Dolce Vita is a film divided into episodes, each with its own environment, protagonists and a plot, but the presence of Marcello Rubini is common to all these episodes. He is a well-known scandal journalist, who moved from Cesena to Rome. The producer Dino De Laurentis would have preferred Paul Newman or Philip Gerard to try to reach the international market, instead Fellini wanted an Italian actor, and his choice was Marcello Mastroianni.
Marcello lives his life as in a dream, which always leaves him unhappy and the situations in which he finds himself, make him increasingly dissatisfied and unable to react. In this context, where the most important thing is to appear and not to be truthful the undisputed icons are the tabloid photographers, then called paparazzi after the nickname of one of the characters of this film, Marcello’s collaborator, Paparazzo, who with his camera is always up to date.
From the beginning La Dolce Vita has distinguished itself for being a film different from the others, a story that has no beginning or end, and the city of Rome is the best of the settings. Around the main character, Marcello, orbit different groups and actions, could have been changed the subject of the episodes but the result would always have been the same.
We find La Dolce Vita in all the charts of the most beautiful Italian movies ever, with Last Tango in Paris by Bernardo Bertolucci, A fistful of dollars and A few more dollars by Sergio Leone, Rome, open city by Roberto Rossellini, Life is beautiful by Roberto Benigni and Bycicle Thieves by Vittorio de Sica.