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La Dolce Vita (2-Disc Collector's Edition) (1961)
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Considering La Dolce Vita was such a huge international success both financially and culturally, the extras on the second disc are a little frustrating. One would think a second disc of extras would include interviews, a new featurette on production and historical significance, maybe some press, promotional footage at the time La Dolce Vita was released, or the 1961 footage of the Academy Award presentation for Best Foreign Film. What is provided is a frustrating hodgepodge of piecemeal interviews and lost video footage that provide little insight to Fellini's classic. The "Remembering the Sweet Life" documentary is merely a 6.5-minute interview with Anita Ekberg shot in 1987 for Italian television, merged with 2 minutes of footage from 1990's Mostra di cinema di Venezia where Felllini presents Marcello Mastroianni a lifetime achievement award, a 2.5-minute interview with Marcello Mastroianni (1990), and a 2-minute clip of Fellini's Intervista in which the aged Ekberg and Mastroianni are watching themselves in La Dolce Vita. That's it! "The Cinecitta: The House of Fellini" is nothing more than a montage of video footage from Fellini's office set to music. The "Fellini, Roma and Cinecitta" interview is simply a videotaped interview of Fellini and a reporter (circa 1990) as they walk through the streets of Rome. For 6 minutes, Fellini pretty much just describes why he loves Rome. Yes, it will inspire you to take a trip to Rome, but will not tell you anything about La Dolce Vita. The bulk of the DVD extras is "Fellini TV: A Collection of Never Before Seen Shorts." At the start of the segment is a note from Fellini saying this is footage that was cut from Fred and Ginger. He does not necessarily want to show it, but if anyone does, he hopes it doesn't embarrass him. Only a hardcore Fellini fan will get very much satisfaction from this feature. --Rob Bracco
Top Customer Reviews
The beginning is memorable, with a helicopter flying over Rome with a statue of Christ hanging underneath. A celebrity journalist, portrayed brilliantly by Marcello Mastroianni (the original producer, Dino de Laurentiis, pulled out of the project when Fellini refused to cast Paul Newman in the lead role), is following the statue in order to write about it, but he and his team get distracted by women sunbathing in bikinis on a rooftop. In this and many other scenes, the tremendous gap between traditional and historical symbols of meaning and current preoccupation with mere pleasure is articulated. The overwhelming sense in the film is of the tremendous triviality of these people's lives and the loss of moral purpose. There are only two exceptions in the film: Marcello's close friend Steiner, whose life is a search for meaning and truth, and a young girl Marcello first meets at a restaurant where she is a food server and then sees again in the last few moments of the film. But Steiner's search is a futile one, leading him not merely to kill himself but his two children as well. And the young girl is not merely a symbol of innocence, but of innocence lost, not to be found again.Read more ›
Maybe the secret (if there is one) of LA DOLCE VITA's appeal is that it's so darned interesting all the time. This especially applies to the plot concerning Steiner. Steiner is the key figure in the film, apart from Marcello himself, who is Fellini's and the viewer's counterpart. What Steiner represents to Marcello is of prime importance. The young reporter sees the older man as a perfected, idealized version of himself. He longs to emulate Steiner and is convinced this man knows how to live life fully. There is irony aplenty in the entire Steiner narrative. When Marcello brings his wife to the Steiner party, they meet a few interesting, but mostly insufferablty pretentious 'intellectual' types. (the famous Fellini 'careless' post-dubbing of dialogue in this scene particularly amusing: it seems to add to these characters' disconnection from a true self, as though they don't even realize what they are actually saying). Steiner himself associates with these people, yet does not truly seem to be one of them. He feels trapped by his own pretentious circle of intellectuals. When Marcello tell him how much he envies and admires him, Steiner replies:
"Don't be like me. Salvation doesn't lie within four walls. I'm too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional.Read more ›
But the story line, although more important here than in later Fellini films, is really just a device to put actors on the screen, and nobody does this better. The cast is real reason to see this; Mastroianni in the role of his life, Anouk Aimee as a bored rich woman, and Anita Ekberg spilling out of her dress as an American actress are merely the most famous - every single performance, even by the most trivial of parts, is astounding and some of the best ever captured on film. My personal favorite is the clown trumpet player with the balloons at the Cha-Cha Club - in the middle of his performance he flashes one quick look at Mastroianni that speaks volumes.
Unfortunately, the only version I have ever seen is in a standard screen ratio that is obviously badly panned - in a film this full of images there is almost more panning than actual camera movement going on, and still too much is happening off-screen. This movie needs badly to be letterboxed and given a new subtitle translation - but in the meantime, even if you have to settle for the poor VHS version, just enjoy what we have, from the awesome set pieces like the chasing of the Madonna and the final party, to the amazing Nino Rota score and the haunting organ melody of "Patricia".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Classic movie of the Dolce Vita of Rome at the time...
Beautiful movie with Marcello and the Late Anita Ekberg a real stunning woman .
Beautiful movie. Classic. Love the era; black and white; fascinating. Direction of photography is interesting; in particular, the helicopter transporting a statue of Christ and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by The Archer
Fellini was such a master filmmaker. Along with Luchino Visconti, he had a brilliant camera eye and with La Dolce Vita he created an epic movie mural in wide screen. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael P. O'Farrell
Classic film. Stands the test of time very well. I had forgotten the many memorable actors and actresses in this film. Anita Ekberg as larger than life and so sultry. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John O'Driscoll
Amazing and thought-provoking, albeit depressing. Fellini's vision of the decadence in our culture has been, and is being, fulfilled. Read morePublished 5 months ago by librich