Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cinema Italiano—La Dolce Vita

Aaaah, the sweet life—the sweet, dreamy, debaucherous, self indulgent, sweet city life of Rome. Federico Fellini's 1960 masterpiece La Dolce Vita opens with the iconic scene of a statue of Christ being carried via helicopter over Rome. Emotionally bankrupt tabloid reporter Marcello Rubini (played by the handsome Mastroianni) and his photographer friend Paparazzo chase stories of the gruesome, the glitzy cafe society and women. Marcello heartlessly uses and abuses several women throughout the film. You'll seriously wince. One that got away from him is Sylvia, a gorgeous American actress visiting Rome (played by the Swedish buxom blonde, Anita Ekberg). Sylvia cavorts throughout the city, and in one famous scene she carelessly frolics in the Trevi Fountain until Marcello goes in and retrieves her. Fellini weaves us in and out of wild party scenes, and up and down staircases—from the height of St. Peter's cathedral to the depths of a prostitute's flooded basement apartment—where Marcello encounters shallow, vapid, pretentious "beautiful" people. Marcello is being pulled between this crazy life of nonstop indulgences and a more simpler life away from the madness. On a beach at the end of the film—the morning after the night before—Marcello sees a young girl (whom he called an Umbrian Angel) that he met earlier in the film at a seaside cafe. She is meant to represent innocence and this simpler life, in this final scene she calls to Marcello to join her. But with the wind and crashing waves of the beach he cannot hear her (or decides not to) and instead he waves goodbye to her and returns to his inebriated friends and the sweet life of the soulless, idol rich jet set. And so it goes. Interesting that in the opening vignette Marcello is following the Jesus helicopter in another helicopter and tries to procure the phone numbers of some bikini clad women that he sees on a rooftop, but he cannot hear what they are saying. So the film begins and ends with Marcello not being able to hear the serenading siren's songs. Peppered with this and other symbolisms, the storyline and cinematography in this film are so beautifully done that even at 3 hours long, it's worth watching every fabulous minute of it.

Just for fun check out this video of Kate Hudson performing Cinema Italiano from the film Nine. Okay, even with a stellar female cast the film was a bit of a dud, but Hudson is hot and this song is da bomb!

I love the black and white, I love the play of light
The way Contini puts his image through a prism

I feel my body chill, Gives me a special thrill
Each time I see that Guido neo-realism

I love the dark handsome guys with their skinny
little ties dressing mod looking out of sight
I love to watch them as they cruise with their pointy
leather shoes wearing shades in the middle of the night

Whatever Guido does it makes me smile
He is the essence of Italian style...
I love the glamorously Latin world that only Guido can portray

Those scenes I love to see
from Guido's POV there's no one else
with his unique director's vision

His angles wide and tight

Each moment feels so right
Defines Italian style by only his decision

I love the speedy little cars, the hip coffee bars
the sleek women in Positano
Guido's the ultimate "uomo Romano"

Contini's Cinema Italiano
I love his Cinema Italiano

Guido Guido Guido
Guido Guido Guido
Guido Guido Guido
Guido GUIDO!!!

Dark handsome guys, Skinny little ties
Shades in the middle of the night
Speedy little cars, Hip coffee bars
sleek women in Positano!!!

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