NEW 35mm RESTORATION ► Fellini’s panoramic portrait of contemporary Roman decadence — parties, paparazzi, and promiscuous sex — is one of world cinema’s most fêted films and one of the key works in the great director’s canon. With La Dolce Vita, Fellini inaugurated the cycle of ambitious, visually extravagant, episodic, self-conscious, autobiographical works that cemented his reputation as an artist of international stature and gave rise to the term “Felliniesque.” Marcello Mastroianni, is one of his signature roles, is the film’s protagonist, a world-weary gossip columnist and would-be serious writer utterly compromised by the amorality and debauchery of the New Babylon in which he lives. Anita Ekberg co-stars as the latest Hollywood sex goddess, come to Italy to star in a Biblical epic; her foray into the Trevi Fountain is one of modern cinema’s most iconic scenes. The film’s opening sequence is almost as celebrated: a huge statue of Christ being transported by helicopter over the rooftops of Rome. “Oh look, there's Jesus!” exclaims a bikinied woman sunbathing on a terrace. La Dolce Vita’s Rome is a phantasmagoria of such contrasts: the sacred and the profane, the spiritual and the material, the Christian and the pagan, the miraculous and the orgiastic. The film was a great succès de scandale in its day; the Vatican denounced it as disgusting and immoral, and even Fellini’s mother was given to ask her son, “Why did you make such a picture?” La Dolce Vita won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1960. B&W, 35mm, in Italian with English subtitles. 174 mins.
Acknowledgments: Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in association with The Film Foundation, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia - Cineteca Nazionale, Pathé, Foundation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Medusa, Paramount Pictures and Cinecittà Luce. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation and Gucci.
"The performances are uniformly excellent. Mastroianni is perfect in the key role of the basically good and honest boy who succumbs to the sweet life."Variety | full review
"A brilliantly graphic estimation of a whole swath of society in sad decay and, eventually, a withering commentary upon the tragedy of the over-civilized."New York Times | full review
"An exuberant wallow in decadence and an expose of it, the film captures a moment in cultural life, when notions of glamour and the indulgences of light and meaningless entertainment seemed poised to replace all humanizing values."San Francisco Chronicle | full review