La Dolce Vita (1960)
I know for a fact that I am under-rating this movie in this review, but I don’t feel too bad about that. The reason I sought out this movie in the first place because it was the favorite film of the man who made me want to write about movies, Roger Ebert. Ebert reviewed this movie at least three times in his life, and the first time he did as a young college student, he casually dismissed it as a slightly above average three star movie, which is about what I have done here. As time would go on Ebert would grow to have a deeper and deeper connection with this movie, but I’ll let you look up his far superior reviews for all that. For yours truly, I found this movie hard to follow from a story standpoint, but stunning to look at from a cinematography standpoint. Anita Ekberg is absolutely stunning as Sylvia, the thrill seeking starlet that in one of the film’s most famous stories our main character, a journalist known as Marcello, has the task of babysitting/carousing with one evening. This winds up with the most stunning sequence in the film involving a soaked Ekbert/Marcello and a large water fountain. The dialogue and banter in this movie is also quite enjoyable, and I admired the free spirit nature of the main character. I guess I’m just a stickler in insisting that my movies actually conform to some kind of narrative, and that is one thing this movie absolutely refuses to do. By the end of the movie when we get to the scenes of the late night party, just after wrapping up another part of the movie that has dealt us a stunning emotional blow. In the end the effect is simply numbing, but not in an undesirable way. This is a movie I will perhaps have to revisit down the line to see if I’m missing something, because, as much as I really, really liked it, I cannot say I loved it.