La Dolce Vita (1960)

5.0 out of 5

La Dolce Vita is an episodic study of a thrill-seeking gossip columnist who spends his time among bourgeois bohemians as they party in the glare of the flashbulb. Yet, as with the characters from Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura, from the same year, these are people who are clearly searching for..... something. So we are treated to a voyage within the realm of poverty tourism, a communion with the supernatural, the quest for miracles, a frivolous splosh in the Trevi Fountain and immersion in the intoxicating exoticism of Orientalism. However, despite trying, these socialites never seem to really connect.

Their emptiness is one that viewers are allowed to share as diegetic scoring leaves plenty of aural whitespace. Although this, in turn, is punctuated with much inane chatter and a lot of glitterati bellyaching over what could best be described as first world problems.

Adopting a similar approach to Juliet of the Spirits, director Federico Fellini allows things to simmer somewhat, but ultimately pulls the various strands together with an exhilarating crescendo of absurdity. Marcello Mastroianni stars.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics