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La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini         [ part I ] [ part II ] [ part III ]

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La dolce vita

Roma by Federico Fellini


In a trattoria along the roman shore, Marcello tries to write an article, but he is disturbed by a song from the juke-box switched on by Paolina, a teenager from Perugia who works as a waitress. Marcello is mixed up by the graces of the young girl, that seems to appreciate with modesty the attentions of the journalist. In the evening, in Veneto Street, Marcello meets his father, just arrived from Cesena for some business.
The fifth episode begins so.

La Dolce Vita, Federico FelliniConsenting to his father’s wish, they go together to a night club, where the old man used to go at the time of his military service. Here Marcello introduces him to Fanny, a young dancer, that takes them to her apartment. However the breathlessness of the night of merry-making and the ailments of the old age provoke to Marcello’s father a malaise. At dawn of the next day, he leaves Rome with the first available train. In the sixth episode, Marcello takes part to a party at the castle of Prince Mascalchi, where he finds again Maddalena. Between a false declaration of love by this latter and a séance, Marcello finds himself in an attic in the arms of the Prince’s wife. At dawn, while all the guests are leaving the castle, after a sleepless night, the Prince mother goes with the priests to a service and admonishes with stern her children.

The director opens at this point a new parenthesis. After turbulent quarrel between Marcello and his fiancée, he learns that at his friend Steiner’s a tragedy happened. He goes there and gets to know by the police commissioner in charge of the investigation that Steiner after having killed his children committed suicide. Marcello offers himself to inform, together with the police commissioner, Steiner’s wife who is at work. When they stop the woman in the street, a group of pitiless photo reporters surrounds them as vultures.

aIn the last episode, Marcello and his friends make irruption in Riccardo’s house, smashing through the glass door of the living room.
They want to celebrate the divorce of Nadia, who while drinking improvises a striptease, creating a collective excitation that threatens to degenerate into an orgy.
With the arrival of the landlord, they are all thrown out. It’s dawn, the group of friends is now walking along a beach nearby, where a kind of ray has appeared, or a marine monster arriving from the tropical seas.
From far away, Marcello notices Paolina who gestures him. She would like to take a walk with him and talk. Marcello however does not understand and goes away with his friends in search of new adventures.

Produced at the end of the 50’s, when in Italy the Christian Democratic party has firmly established, La Dolce Vita reveals that behind the façade of Christianity of the nation hides the monster of the pagan Rome.
Pagan is the ritual of ablution of the “cinematographic diva”, that rises again as a new Venus from the sparkling waters of the Trevi Fontain.
Pagan is the orgiastic cult – oriental one of the Great Mother - that wafts in every single clip of the movie, and is revealed also in the orgy of foolishness that characterizes the episode of the false apparition of the Virgin.

La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini

In regard of the scandal provoked by the movie, that among the other invited to a moment of reflection on the world of the cinema and of the press information, the decency with which the director told all this, nowadays can only leave us astonished and puzzled.


Gianfranco Massetti - translated by Francesca Torri

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