La dolce vita
(The Sweet Life)
Marcello Mastroianni, Yvonne Furneaux, Anouk Aimée, Anita Ekberg,
A helicopter flies over Rome dangling a gigantic statue of Christ. “Oh, look,” remarks a woman sunbathing below, “there’s Jesus. Where’s he going?” Fellini created a rich, intricate tapestry of “Rome, the Babylon of my dreams” in La dolce vita. Juxtaposition and composition are finely tuned to exude an air of randomness. The episodic narrative follows a jaded journalist, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni), on an odyssey in search of himself amid the decadent, dehumanized beauties of Rome’s glitterati. “Whither Jesus?” is a question perhaps addressed, perhaps dismissed in several witty set pieces, from Anita Ekberg’s visit to St. Peter’s wearing a tight-fitting curé’s habit, to Marcello and his poker-faced compatriots finding a dead fish, with its enormous open eye, on the beach. In Italy, Catholics were forbidden to see La dolce vita, but in the world on which former journalist Fellini filed his report, there are more scenes of quick and real pathos than there are orgies.