La Dolce Vita

I'm sure most of you are thinking that you have never seen or heard of Frederico Fellini's 1960 movie La Dolce Vita. You might not have seen it, but you have for sure been affected by it. A word we hear every day comes from this movie, was invented from this movie - paparazzi, taken from the character of Paparazzo. He is a  photojournalist, and Fellini used the word as it means an annoying sound, like a buzzing. I know this is sort of unexciting, but I really love things like this. Language is pretty incredible, and it's really interesting to me to find out where words come from. How odd, I thought, that paparazzi is a relatively new word! Bah, of course this is boring.

The more Fellini that I see, the more I fall in love. There is something really wonderful about his style, his eye. His plots give me characters that I become entranced with and fascinated by. Love them or hate them, I want to see their lives. Personally, not being familiar with Fellini, I found this easier to understand and like than 8 1/2. Ebert describes this movie as being the midpoint of his career - "Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films (like "La Strada'') and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones ("Juliet of the Spirits,'' "Amarcord'')" (The Great Movies, 242). I think I was more confused by 8 1/2 because I knew I was supposed to love the visuals but I wasn't sure how. Here, with a bit more restraint, I can love him more. I can see the energy and visuals that show in 8 1/2, but it is calm enough that I have a little more to cling to. A balance. I'm also more tired, which I think makes the easier-to-understand style...well, easier on me. I think I could spend more time focusing on the symbolism, cinematography, and rich plot of the film because I was less baffled by the visuals, if that makes any sense.

I can tell that this film is full of symbolism, but Ebert sums it all up more concisely and faster than I can. I'll just sound like I'm badly paraphrasing if I try to explain. It's not that I don't have thoughts on this film - I do! It's just that for me, Fellini's films have been more about trying to piece together and understand him as a director. After watching this film and feeling more for Fellini than when I just watched one film, I can tell that he is a true auteur, someone who I want to see all of his films and look at closely. I am slow at warming up to directors, though. It took me a few Scorsese films to understand why he is brilliant. I think it's going to the be same with Fellini. His style, just after two films, is making a lot more sense to me, and I'm coming to understand and appreciate it more. I mean, this time, I saw circus imagery, and I wasn't automatically disturbed!

I think that when this project is done, Fellini will be the first director I come back to. I want to revisit films like 8 1/2 after I've seen more of his work. I for sure recommend this, since I really loved it, but I wish I knew more about Fellini to make an educated statement, like "Watch this one first!" or something. Maybe soon I can. I also wish this movie wasn't almost 3 hours long, because I didn't start it until very late, and very tired. Many people encouraged me to split it up into 2 days, but pffft, what else would I have done with my evening, watch TV? Of course, this did hinder my writing, but we all have off days. :)

Have any of you seen La Dolce Vita? Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Ebert's Great Movie essay on La Dolce Vita

The Lady Eve