Monday, December 7, 2009

LA DOLCE VITA (Italian) (1960)

“Don’t be like me. Salvation doesn’t lie within four walls. I’m too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional. Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected.” 
– Steiner’s advice to Marcello in the film

Few films defined the masked face of high-society as honestly as Fellini’s this ageless satirical masterpiece. Marcello (played wonderfully by Fellini favorite Marcello Mastroianni) is a tabloid reporter living temporary existence in the shallow world of high-class society. He is a man of emotional paradox who loves to flirt with pretty dames, a part of his routine life. He dreams about creative writing but he’s so vague about it. He remains seduced by money, fame and prestige under the influence of decadent society where there’s huge vacuum of moral values and everyone pursues pleasure. He’s so much into the mud that even in the climactic moment of the film and his life; he couldn’t recognize the pure last hope of his life. One can’t think of any more realistic ending here. A beautiful symbolic metaphor by Fellini.

Modern man has become so much disconnected from the natural world and now he’s suffering from that conditioning only. In a way, Marcello is the great symbol of today’s modern, urban human condition trapped in absurd mundane life without any significance. He’s trapped in the world full of ‘eat, drink and have a sex’ kind of high society culture where everything is bizarre, duping and lacking any higher significance. Apart of Marcello’s old intelligent friend Steiner who commits suicide is the voice of pure soul for him. Marcello adores him more than anybody and he’s his idealized perfect version of what he wanted to be and we see plenty of irony when Steiner uttered anything in the film.

Fellini was an artist par excellence. Watching every frame of this B&W film seems like visiting classic portrait art gallery. There are so many indelible images which stay in my memory for long time. The initial helicopter scene with statue of Jesus flying over Rome, famous fountain scene of Anita Ekberg (can any dame looks so erotic and voluptuous as this Swedish beauty!!!), the candlelit procession at castle, the man who can move balloons with his music etc. etc. The cinematography and background score are just awesome. It’s Fellini’s distinct style of blending fantasy with reality which made him adorable filmmakers of world cinema. Though the film is nearly three hours long, I almost enjoyed every bit of its artistic bliss and love to watch it another and another times till I die.

The film won many awards including prestigious Palme d’or at Cannes and three Academy Awards including Best Director and Best story/screenplay. This is my second Fellini film after ‘Nights of Cabiria’, and am so desperate to see his puzzle like masterpiece 8 ½ next.

An exceptional classic beyond all ratings.

1 comment:

abhishek said...

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