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Film / La Dolce Vita

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A highly acclaimed 1960 film by Federico Fellini with a Nino Rota soundtrack., La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) is about some days in the life of gossip journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni), who has to deal with apparitions of the Madonna, a friend's existential anguish, problems with his girlfriend, a lot of lovers and a highly annoying photographer friend.

The movie is famous for being considered "immoral" for its presentation of the Roman lifestyle and the obvious Fanservice Fellini provides with the women (though if you were to look at it, you'd probably raise an eyebrow about it), for its scene of Anita Ekberg bathing in the Trevi Fountain in Rome, for being the Trope Namer for the term Paparazzi, and for being the first film that Roger Ebert ever reviewed.

This film provides examples of:

  • Advertised Extra: Anita Ekberg as the actress Sylvia is the most prominent figure on the poster. While she is one of the most memorable parts of the film, she's only in one part of the film out of seven.
  • Allegorical Character: Paola, a waitress Marcello meets in a scene otherwise unrelated to the film, represents the yearnings of nostalgia inherent to Italian neorealism, with her desire to someday return to her home of Perugia. She reappears at the very end of the film to call out to Marcello, whose inability to hear her represents his disconnect from the emotionally fulfilling past in favor of a life of excess.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Marcello has a nonexistent grasp of English, and mostly communicates with English-speaking Sylvia in his native Italian, which she understands alright.
  • Break the Cutie: Marcello. By the end, the poor guy has just given up, but Steiner killing both his own kids and himself is really what sealed it.
  • The Casanova: Marcello, though he is technically more of a subversion, considering he's manipulated by the women instead of the opposite.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sylvia.
  • Cool Shades: Marcello and Paparazzo wear ones so cool that they get to the Logical Extreme of wearing them at any time.
  • Distant Finale: The final part of the film is set sometime after Steiner's suicide. Marcello has quit journalism to become a publicity agent, and his temples are visibly graying.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Marcello and Paparazzo are distracted from a statue of the Christ (the news they're covering) by a group of women sunbathing.
  • Downer Ending: A subtler example than many, but the final part of the film demonstrates that, after everything he went through, all Marcello has done is fall further into decadence and the artificial celebrity lifestyle. The final scene demonstrates this beautifully, as his inability to hear Paola shows he's lost any connection to the past.
  • Driven to Suicide: Steiner.
  • Fanservice: All over it.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Marcello treats his fiance Emma horribly — taking her for granted, cheating on her, and being dismissive of her feelings; which leads her to develop a drug addiction. On one occasion, they fight and he slaps her and then throws her out of the car. As it's customary for the period, Marcello is the sexy hero of the story who gets broken by the events of the plot. It doesn't help that his reconciliation with Emma is treated as romantic, tender, and a very needed breather scene before another traumatic but unrelated thing occurs to him.
  • Foil: Steiner, to Marcello. While Marcello is a womanizer who suffers from emotional emptiness and artificiality due to his life as a journalist, Steiner is Happily Married with two children, and seems much better adjusted as an intellectual. Seems is the keyword, and Steiner ends up killing himself and his children due to his own existentialism. His death is what pushes Marcello into fully becoming part of Italian celebrity culture.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Marcello slips them on around the time Steiner commits Murder-Suicide.
  • Large Ham: Frankie and the rock singer of the same scene.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Marcello's father is as much of a womanizer as he is.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie is fairly comical... And suddenly Steiner decides to kill himself and his children.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sylvia.
  • Offing the Offspring: Steiner does it before killing himself. Made even sadder by the fact that he really loved them.
  • Paparazzi: Paparazzo is the Trope Namer.
  • Pretty in Mink: Sylvia wears a fur-lined cape and then a white ermine wrap.
  • Random Events Plot: One of the most famous examples in cinema.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Most of the women in the movie, especially those Marcello courts, like Maddalena or Sylvia.
  • Sunglasses at Night
  • Urban Legend Love Life: For the film that launched Mastroianni's career on The Casanova ticket, he never really played any character of the sort; Mastroianni himself said that all his characters billed as such were in fact the exact opposite. In La Dolce Vita, he allows himself to be used by the women he pursues.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Marcello and Paparazzo. Mainly on Marcello's part.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The kitten Sylvia found.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Marcello reveals this to have been the case regarding his father, which is why he acts so disconnected when he meets with him. It takes a tragic turn when he has to say goodbye to him again after his father has a mild heart attack, with the implication that the two will never meet again.
  • Wishing Well: The iconic scene at the Trevi Fountain.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Nadia does one. She ends conveniently covered by a fur.