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Author Topic: La Dolce Vita  (Read 10727 times)
General Sibley
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« on: October 07, 2004, 08:53:38 AM »

Anyone ever watched any Fellini?  He's kind of fallen out of favor, like Bergman.  I've never seen any of his movies all the way through, but finally made it through  "La Dolce Vita" this week - it's just been restored and released on DVD.

I had preconceptions going into this about Fellini, so watching the first hour or so it was difficult viewing.  Since Fellini was such a monumental figure in Italy in the 60's I thought he'd be a strong influence on Leone's style.  But it's actually quite the opposite - their styles are very dissimilar, it's like Leone made a deliberate attempt NOT to be like Fellini.  So this made the first hour of the movie drag very slowly, you keep looking for familiar visual cues and put the movie into a context that you know but you're not finding them.  

His style was very revolutionary at the time, but it hasn't aged very well (my guess is Tarantino's and his legion of imitator's style will also seem very dated in 10-20 years  Wink).  The soundtrack alone is laughable, I'm sure it was the coolest thing imaginable in 1960 but now it sounds like something they'd use for an Austin Powers movie.

Finally watched the rest of it the next night.  Well, how did I like it?  Hard to explain, but it's one of those movies that works on you after you stop watching it.   Probably need to watch it a few more times to appreciate it more, but that would be a chore.
But I would definitely recommend it, but then I'd also recommend eating 8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and fish 3 times a week.

But what watching a movie like "La Dolce Vita" definitely does do is it makes you appreciate the art of a Leone all the more.  Leone's movies have this indescribable timelessness, they exist in their own universe in their own time and place and they don't seem to age.  Morricone's genius is a big part of that, nothing will date a movie faster than a soundtrack that is filled with contemporary music.

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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2004, 11:08:27 AM »

I had a rather similar experience with this film, as well as his other huge classic, 8 1/2. I will have to see them again one day. I have, however, seen several other Fellini films recently which I've enjoyed much more: Roma, I Vitelloni, Amarcord, and La Strada. These films (with the exception of Roma) are not as "heavy" films as La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2, and are therefore more accesible as well as more enjoyable. Satyricon, on the other hand, I didn'd care much for.

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General Sibley
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2004, 01:41:47 PM »

Nobody, which order would you recommend viewing those that you listed - chronological?

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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2004, 02:32:10 PM »

hey general & nobody !
concerning "La dolce vita",  why did marchello's friend (alan cuny) commit suside taking his two kids with him.  during the first party scene in the first half of the film the guests are listening to tapes cuny makes of nature. there's is a sound of thunder that seems to disturb cuny and he turns his tape machine off.  

he tells marchello he wishes everything we're held in suspended animation.  

i remember getting kicked out of my local theater twice in one night as back in '59, LDV was supposed to be adult stuff. great fun.  Grin  


« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 02:35:04 PM by KERMIT » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2004, 02:32:11 PM »

i think 8 1/2 is amazing, i dont understand it really but visually its incredible. La Dolce Vita i also liked. Havent seen any more.

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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2004, 03:41:41 PM »

I can't say I liked La Dolce Vita. It's all sphere and no story, and although there are some great scenes and Mastroianni is wonderful (Ekberg too Wink), the sum is really less than some of it's parts.

Oh, and I wouldn't try imitating walking in the water of the Trevi fountain... you'll be removed immediately and fined several hundred euro's... And it's not even all it's cracked up to be. (Check out the Piazza Navona instead, the fountains there are much more beautiful than the Trevi, in my humble opinion. Bernini...)

« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 03:44:40 PM by David Aaronson » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2004, 04:45:57 PM »

LDV, what can be done w/ this film is settle in and watch a panarama of what rome was like in those
days and just accept it., w/out editorializing on anyone's part, and bask in the genuis and originality that went into making this film.

in it's own way, LDV was just as much a breakthrough as "citizen kane" in that fellini in that  pulled out all the stops to offer us a panoply of life in the big city. much of the dialog is banal, when spoken by banal people, and much of the dialog is brilliant, when spoken by brilliant people. in other words, it's a dipiction of the way it was. to disect and analiyze LDV any further might do it a disservice. some have called it a satire, same say it's a slice of life, some say it's a practical joke on fellini's part. that's enough to realize that LDV was many things to many people. it's a classic in that the breath of vision, the humor, the darkness, the nobility and tawdriness all blend to become a total cinamatic experirnce. fellini, as in his usual costom, employed a great many amateurs along with the professional actors. many of them never made another film and LDV represented their moment in the sun. all of the actors, both pro and non pro, were believable and the idea of using mastroianni, a journalist, to be the lever on which the story rests, was excellent because it afforded us the opportunity to watch as well as participate in all sequences through legitimate, if jaded eyes.  forget any philosophy, don't look for any deep, underlying meanings, just become emmeshed in the sweet life and see if you don't agree that this was a momental acheviment, in any language.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2004, 06:04:54 PM by KERMIT » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2004, 04:51:01 PM »

Nobody, which order would you recommend viewing those that you listed - chronological?

Save Roma and Satyricon for last. As for the other ones, I guess chronological might be a good idea, or you can start with what sounds most interesting. I vitelloni, recently released by Criterion, is a so called "slacker" film, meaning it's basically a film about guys who like doing nothing. It's great fun, and many claim it's the easiest Fellini film to like. Probably a good place to start.

Amarcord is autobiographical. It has some very funny parts, and it includes many italian stereotypes such as the father with an extreme temper, and the boys who just wants to get laid. You also find these in I Vitelloni.

Amarcord was the first Fellini film I saw which I really liked, and the next one was La Strada, which is a rather touching story about a travelling "strong man" beautifully portrayed by Anthony Quinn.

Roma is not a film with a story, but an episodic film, were each episode takes place in Rome at different times through Fellinis life. Some parts are hilarious, other less interesting. It's more than good enough though.

I have this theory that I might enjoy La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 more now that I know some of his other work better. Let's hope it's true.

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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2004, 08:23:34 AM »

hey general & nobody !
concerning "La dolce vita",  why did marchello's friend (alan cuny) commit suside taking his two kids with him.  during the first party scene in the first half of the film the guests are listening to tapes cuny makes of nature. there's is a sound of thunder that seems to disturb cuny and he turns his tape machine off.  

he tells marchello he wishes everything we're held in suspended animation.  

i remember getting kicked out of my local theater twice in one night as back in '59, LDV was supposed to be adult stuff. great fun.  Grin  



Kermit, sneaking into LDV - you naughty boy you!

Marcello meeting his friend and being invited over for dinner was a turning point in his life.   He'd been living this debauched existence and was wasting his talents writing for a gossip rag.  Then he views his friend living this ideal life, beautiful wife and kids, interesting conversation and artistic friends.  I think after this dinner is when Marcello goes off to the seaside to write his novel.

After his friend commits this gruesome suicide/murder Marcello realizes that this so-called "perfect" life was also a sham, that there must have been some poison behind that blissful exterior too.  So after that Marcello basically says "see I was right in the first place - f*ck it all, let's party" and I think the next scene was that total debauch at the aristocrat's mansion, Marcello tossing feathers on the woman on all fours, etc.

Cool movie, it's still with me a week later.  I've even got the main theme song going through my head (with the organ I might add  Wink )


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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2005, 01:16:30 PM »

It's been a long time since there was any posting on this subject, but I ordered 8 1/2 - Criterion Collection today. It should arrive next week when my exams are finally over. The disc comes with an intro by Terry Gilliam. Can't wait for that. I never really got into it the last time I saw it, but a couple of years have passed, so the moment is hopefully just right now.

Did you ever seek out any other Fellini films, General Sibley? Anyone you liked more than La Dolce Vita?

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General Sibley
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2005, 01:51:48 PM »

Fellini is pretty tough slogging.  LDV is the only one I've managed to watch from beginning to end, but it took me 3 nights to get through it.

La Strada I didn't like much, got through a half hour of that.  Satyricon and I Vitelloni same thing.   His style doesn't hold up too well IMO.   But let me know how you like 8 1/2, is it better than 9 1/2 Weeks?

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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2005, 10:16:28 AM »

So what is Fellini's style like? I've been cosidering having a peek at his stuff for a while now. Who would you guys compare him to?

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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2005, 10:54:12 AM »

His style is unique, I can't think of anyone similar off the top of my head - most certainly nothing like Leone.  Leone is more of a traditional linear Hollywood storyteller, Fellini is much more hallucinatory and surreallistic.  David Lynch maybe, without the macabre?

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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2005, 12:37:40 AM »

I too find the self-indulgent Fellini hard to take, but he was a capable film-maker before he became world-famous. The film of his I really like is Nights of Cabiria. It's the only Fellini I've been able to watch more than once.

The Italian director who is most interesting as regards his influence on Leone is Visconti. Check out The Leopard, if you have not already done so. Leone's set designs for Morton's railway car, and the ornate carriage in DYS were undoubtedly inspired by some of the interiors in Visconti's film. Occasionally you can even notice quotations from the film in Leone: an example in DYS occurs right after Juan breaks the prisoners out of the bank and they join the revolutionaries in the street. This is shot in a way very similar to street scenes from the Battle of Palermo in The Leopard. And of course the casting of Romolo Valli in DYS must be due to his presence in The Leopard.

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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2005, 04:14:36 AM »

Put me down for La Strada.

One of those film eye openers when i was quite young and impressionable.  A completely un-pretentious film. Found my self captivated by the Chaplinlike Masina. Almost like a disney movie thats been kicked down a flight of stairs. And extremely bleak and funny film at times.

 


« Last Edit: May 26, 2005, 12:24:30 PM by The Smoker » Logged

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