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on 15 May 2016
This is a masterpiece. Fellini caught the essence of the life back at that time in such an extraordinary way. The decadence going on in Rome, the contrast between the rich and the poor, the magnificent buildings, the glamour of Via Veneto, the shallowness and so on. Mastroianni is just amazing. I can't believe I waited so long to watch this film.
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on 14 April 2016
A film with a rich intelligent story and characters. Also some lovely black and white cinematography, a real classic.
Film presented in Widescreen.
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on 23 June 2017
5 stars thank you very much
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on 23 October 2014
La Dolce Vita Blu Ray (Region B)

First class product, this Umbrella Entertainment Region B blu ray of 'La Dolce Vita' from Australia. The transfer is perfect, the best version of this film I have ever seen. Detail, textures, brightness and contrast levels are outstanding. The sound has two- and five-channel sound options. I found nothing unfavourable about the transfer that caught my eye. I want to look at it all over again and savour its beauty all over. Far, far more enjoyable than the SD's from the past, including the Nouveaux Pictures restored SD DVD. Plenty of extras too.
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on 28 June 2016
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on 5 June 2017
The movie about the time - and what that good time of others meant to audience ???
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on 14 August 2011
A week or so in the life of social page journalist Marcello in Rome and his problems with women & life is the underlying theme. On top, three consecutive events provide the action: the arrival of Swedish sex movie star Anita Eckberg plus American husband - a fairly undisguised reference to Marylin Monroe and her one time husband, playwright Arthur Miller), a visit to the house of his mentor Steiner (with idyllic family scene, and some suspect Jungian style philosophy), an unannounced visit in town of his father with some social night-clubbing. Movie star and father return home again, Steiner kills his young children and commits suicide, with no obvious explanation (except perhaps that idylls are neither idyllic nor stable). Marcello is hardly any further in solving his problem; the final scene at the beach, a huge flatfish caught in the net, a look at his eye; across a little creek into the sea, a teenage girl he met before tries to talk across to him, but there is too much noise. The "open" sea is a typical Fellini ending.

Highlights - technical. At the beginning, a long "camera traveling" scene, a term the French use for approaching a moving or standing object from behind and then passing it, while making a full 180 degree turn, and looking back at it from the front, all in one continuous shot. Done for samurai battles by the Japanese directors Kurosawa and Kobayashi around the same time. If on ground level, very long rails needed to smoothly run the camera. Helicopters offer new ways.

Highlights - social and political. Flying in a statue of Christ for some church, else church also shown as a bureaucracy in the religious business including wonder healing etc. Huge new and unfinished suburban areas. Police of two kinds: the uniformed dummies standing around, and the plain clothes investigators in more casual jackets, with very alert political minds and no illusion about the crookedness of the system.

Overall. Compared to 1960, when Fellini himself opened the film in Rome much in the film star style of La dolce vita, ie amid scandals and stories, a much clearer structure and message emerges. Good camera, lighting and sound (Nino Rota), good acting especially by women, mostly still blackhaired and intelligent, quite different from the Cavaliere's times and underage flock of today.
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on 18 January 2015
Anita Ekberg died last week,so I thought it was time to watch the DVD of "La Dolce Vita" (hereafter, LDV) that I had bought around Christmas time. I had seen "Amarcord" recently and been impressed. There are impressive things in LDV too, but I didn't like it quite as much. First of all, at a little under three hours, it's a bit too long for its material. Fellini utilizes a lot of ingenuity and striking camerawork in lovely black-and-white in essentially re-iterating the emptiness of the so-called sweet life that is meat and drink to the tabloid journalists and photographers who follow, and partially create, "celebrities" and spectacle. It matters little to them whether the celebrities are from the wealthy, the aristocracy, the intellectual world, the world of entertainment, or the world of Italian Catholicism: they're all reduced to the same level of temporary, often prurient, interest. Marcello Mastroianni is Marcello Rubini, a tabloid journalist who still seems to have (or is he in denial by now?) aspirations to be a better kind of writer. His friendship with the intellectual Steiner (Alain Cluny) is a token of that supposed seriousness, and yet Steiner sees himself as little more than a dilettante and in the movie's most shocking development kills himself and his young, beautiful children -- a statement about his sense that Italy has no future worth living in. (For the squeamish, the killings take place off-stage). The sense that a worthwhile future seems to be becoming less possible -- in this case a future of stable affection -- almost leads to another death, as Marcello's lover Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) overdoses on pills. The effect of these horrors on Marcello is interesting -- he seems momentarily engaged and then seems to shake them off and go back to the empty sweet life. This is the place to pay tribute to Marcello Mastroianni's diligent representation of a very trivial and finally unlikeable man. Mastroianni gives himself to it without any actorly vanity and manages to keep us interested (with help from Fellini's camera and pacing) with an empty shell of a man. We don't know much of Marcello's history, but the scene with his father (Annibale Ninchi) tells us all we need to know. The fruit hasn't fallen far from the tree. His dad is superficially likeable and tolerant -- and as empty as Marcello himself. (In the scenes with the father, we also have Magali Noel as Fanny, an night-club entertainer of easy virtue, who, like Gradisca (Noel's character in "Amarcord"), is a warm presence.

So again, as in "Amarcord," we have throughout representations of the Italian male as not fully grown-up. Sometimes this seems to me the fulcrum of Fellini's satirical critique of Italian life. To the perpetual infants that most men in the movie are, women are either smothering mothers or sexual objects -- and sometimes both in the same woman. When Marcello kicks Emma out of his car late in the movie, his insult is that she is mothering him (and yet they end up in bed together). Emma, it's clear from her reaction at Steiner's party, would like to be a real mother -- to have a family life and children. Of all the women in the movie, she comes closest to seeming to be normal in a good way, and the context she lives in is destroying her (as perhaps it destroys Steiner). Marcello will bed Emma -- and anyone else who is interested, it seems. Anouk Aimee is Maddalena, a discontented rich woman with whom he sleeps, but she tires of him sporadically, as she seems to tire of everything. Anita Ekberg is Sylvia, the American movie star who captivates Marcello (and all the tabloid reptiles) and for whom the Trevi Fountain is just a good place for a midnight wade. To her credit, though, she's nice to the stray cat -- which is an ironic comment on her brief flirtation with Marcello. (Aficionados of cat sounds in movies will remember Bill Forsyth's hommage to this sound effect in "Gregory's Girl" -- where the characters really are adolescents).

The Trevi Fountain scene is one of many in which tokens of "ancient Rome" and its putative grandeur are presented simply as parts of a playground for the rich. Fellini juxtaposes these with glittery "modern" settings and sometimes with slum-like modern settings to at least suggest to us the possibility that something less trivial might be imagined or remembered, even as it is being abused or ignored by the characters in the film. The sacred too becomes just an excuse for spectacle. From the opening shots of the helicopter-borne statue of Christ the Redeemer (pursued by helicopter-borne tabloid photographers and journalists) to the scenes with the children who claim to have had a vision of the Virgin (and who then seem willing to "perform" their vision for the paparazzi), the sense of religion as little more than a provider of spectacle is made clear, although the ripping of the branches of the little tree under which the Virgin supposedly was seen (with Emma doing some of the ripping) suggests a desperation on the part of some for something more real than spectacle. And by the final scene -- the party celebrating the divorce of Nadia (Nadia Gray), there isn't much "dolce" left, and it's pretty much explicitly brutal, letting us see what has been underpinning much of the carnival of Roman life up to that point. The comments above haven't touched on all the scenes by any means, and certainly not on the fertile ingenuity of Fellini's images -- there's much to see and appreciate, although whether one enjoys what one is appreciating is another story.

Finally, I think that Fellini had one gigantic failure of nerve in the movie. When Steiner kills himself and his children, his wife is out of town, and due to return at a certain time by bus. Marcello offers to go with the investigating policeman to meet the bus, and, of course, as soon as they leave Steiner's house, they're followed by a bunch of scooter-riding journalists and photographers for whom personal tragedy is just another excuse for spectacle. When Steiner's wife alights from the bus, they surround her like a feral pack. Point taken -- but the failure of nerve is in not showing us (then or later) Marcello breaking the news of the tragedy. He has obviously been shaken by Steiner's death, and he volunteers to meet his wife. How did he handle it? Why don't we see? Or couldn't Fellini or Mastroianni have made it credibly consonant with the rest of the film? I think the movie demands that scene, and surely a film-maker as skillful as Fellini could have brought it off.
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on 25 February 2005
Fellini's opening scene puts the stamp on this one: a helicopter flies over Roman ruins, a statue of Christ suspended beneath. A second helicopter stalks it, a journalist and photographer onboard. They fly on over new blocks of flats - ugly, functional buildings, dallying to wave to bathing beauties, men and women failing to communicate above the noise of the aircraft. An atmosphere of cynicism is established: Rome is a crumbling ruin, decadent, its peoples unable to talk to one another.
Set in 1950's Rome, La Dolce Vita follows the life of a journalist (Marcello Mastroianni), a man who can write great prose but whose work is devoted to the trivia of society gossip, the sensational, and celebrity hype: his life is empty and meaningless, filled only by sex, boredom, and flight from commitment. His girlfriend wants to marry him, but is driven to attempt suicide because of his philandering. He prefers, instead, to romp with the society figure, Maddalena (Anouk Aimee) on a whore's bed, or to flirt with a visiting Hollywood screen idol (Anita Ekberg).
Modelled on a Rome which had become an outpost of Hollywood, attracting many American actors, La Dolce Vita presents that unreal world which working class Italians could only glimpse through the pages of a new generation of celebrity, illustrated magazines. In Hollywood, the studios protected their stars and managed their publicity: in Rome, they were exposed to the local press - Mastroianni's ever-present photographer, Paparazzo, would give his name to the job. Indeed, two of the film's memorable scenes - Anita Ekberg dancing in the Trevi Fountain, and the striptease towards the end - were modelled on Ekberg's own, well-publicised exploits.
Throughout the film, Italian references are sparse. The real Italians are mere onlookers. Mastroianni drives an English sports car; a pianist delivers Bach's Toccata and Fugue; the characters drink whisky, gin, Coca Cola; Mastroianni's father reminisces about Parisian nightlife; many of the actors speak passages in English. Only the scooters, used by the paparazzi, are Italian. And there is an absence of Italian life: we meet a whore on the streets, a young girl working in a café, but otherwise the city is empty of working life. Only the clubs and bars are in full swing, and then only by night, peopled by the privileged.
Reference is, however, made to the peasants, to the superstition of the country people. Mastroianni reports on a claim that two children have seen the Virgin Mary. The kids are persuaded to re-enact their vision for the cameras. They do so with gusto, leading the crowd on a merry dance which culminates in a stampede. A man is trampled to death. For centuries before the illustrated magazines, the gullible masses could be fed hype and imagery! Now, it appears, the press has ousted the Church in orchestrating the spectacular.
The film is delivered in a series of scenes, often unlinked and disjointed, like the articles in a magazine - you open the pages and the subjects are exposed by the camera. Mastroianni rushes around, hardly ever staying at home, finding time to write only in an empty café, bemoaning the fact that he never saw his father as a child ... and now nearly missing him when the old man visits Rome. Only his successful, intellectual friend, Steiner, appears to offer any hope of stability, encouraging him to write, to use his talent, to abandon the "semi-fascist" scandal magazines for which he writes.
Yet Steiner is consumed with worries and doubts - the threat of the Cold War and imminent nuclear destruction haunts him. Steiner makes the only real reference to the existing political world - this is the 1950's, post-Fascist Italy, an Italy recovering from civil war, German invasion, American invasion, torn now between the collapse of the old order and the struggle for its political soul between Communism, Catholic Church, and Capitalism. It's an intensely political city ... yet one reduced to the trivia of the paparazzi.
Mastroianni, himself, has no values, no ideals, no political, moral or spiritual base. Beset by tragedy, he does not discover any sense of humanity or direction, but, instead, plunges further into decadence and dissipation. The film comes full circle. At its end, Mastroianni and his fellow party-goers discover some fishermen hauling a rotting "sea monster" up onto the shore. Christ, swinging beneath the helicopter, had created fishers of men. Now we have the partygoers carrying off some monstrous spectacle, symbol of the rotting society they inhabit, following it who knows where. Mastroianni turns to wave to the young girl across a stream, unable to hear her above the noise, still unable to communicate with women. He turns his back on her and follows the pack off to their next party, where the paparazzi will be competing to fish for images of men.
The film escaped the censorship which had dominated Italian culture for centuries, setting a new sense of libertarianism and a new, sexy image. Tame by modern standards, it nevertheless scandalised Italy ... while doing much to make Italy fashionable and a fashion leader! An intriguing film, a classic of European cinema, at nearly three hours in length it demands some concentration in following the subtitles and numerous asides.
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on 22 January 2014
This is a short review on the DVD, not the film itself, which has many well written reviews. I chose this DVD after reading various reviews as at the time of writing the Italian edition has the highest recommendation.

The Italian edition of La Dolce Vita has 2 DVDs, one with the film and one with the extras. This version lasts 167' (according to IMDB there are other versions of varying lengths). I don't know why it says on the back of the case, "Durata:178'".
The picture quality is excellent, beautifully clear in black and white with easy to read english subtitles.

Sadly the extras DVD has no english subtitles, but if u speak Italian (sadly I don't), u will not be disappointed.
The DVD contains:

Presentazione di Maurio Porro: 5'42
I ritratti di Enzio Biagi: Federico Fellini: 43'09
Caleidoscopo: 1'08

plus written information about the film, cast and crew.
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