La Dolce Vita literally translates as ‘The Sweet Life’ and is a 1960 comedy-drama movie directed by the renowned Italian film director, Federico Fellini. It follows a week in the life of a journalist, Marcello, who is staying in Rome, and his constant quest for both happiness and love which will never be found. La Dolce Vita was awarded the coveted Palme D’Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and also went on to win an Oscar for Best Costume.
The film follows seven days and nights in the Roman journalist’s life where he is torn between actually making a serious go of something in his life or alternatively should he to continue to drift along? Although he enjoys a pleasant, if meaningless stream of casual affairs and has a profitable, but hollow job with his newspaper and magazine work, something is missing.
During the time of the film, he manages to flirt with a visiting movie star and has one or two encounters with a blasé (seemingly upper-class) woman. One of the encounters actually takes place in a prostitute’s bedroom. Marcello is extremely shocked when Steiner, his distinguished and intellectual friend, (who is a ‘serious’ writer and deep thinker,) kills himself and also his children.
He also manages to ignore his adoring fiancée, Emma, who ends up taking an overdose because of his behaviour. By the end of the film, Marcello appears to be adrift on a sea of levity and self-loathing, but seems to have no idea how to find his way back again.
For some this is one of the best Italian films of all times and for others, not one of the greats, but we would still say that if you adore Italy, this should be a film on your ‘must watch’ list.