La Dolce Vita (1960)

Written by Ismael Isak


For the past decade I’ve become much more serious about watching movies. I went through the entire IMDB top 250 list of movies and went browsing through countless forums searching for great films. I began to lose hope about finding another film that would make my jaw drop. Then I came across an interview with Martin Scorsese where he mentioned that Federico Fellini was an inspiration to him. I had never heard of that director before so I went searching for some of his films, and that is where I came across La Dolce Vita.

It is rare for me to watch the first half hour of a film and know that it is the best movie that I have seen in a very long time, only for it to even surpass those expectations.

La Dolce Vita starts with an iconic image of a statue of Jesus being flown by a helicopter over Rome. Our main character, Marcello Rubini, follows in a news helicopter and is sidetracked by a group of women sunbathing in their bikinis on the roof. This intro does a brilliant job of introducing Marcello to us and sets our expectations of where his intentions are. The film is split up into seven parts along with a prologue and epilogue. Each part deals with a certain aspect of Marcello’s life, from meeting his father for the first time in years to dealing with his suicidal girlfriend and spending the evening with a group of philosophizing friends while listening to sounds of nature recorded on tape. Along the way Marcello is followed by a fellow news reporter who takes pictures for the paper, named Paparazzo, while being incredibly intrusive to the celebrities they come across.

Marcello is a man searching for a greater purpose in his life. He comes across people who he would expect would change the course of his life for the better, but it turns out they are actually worse off than he is. This is a film that reignited my love of movies and made me realize that there are still plenty of great movies I have yet to see.

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