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La Dolce Vita - foreign language DVD / international DVD / drama DVD / classic movies DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aime, Yvonne Furneaux, Magali Nol
Director: Federico Fellini   Distributor: Koch Lorber Films
DVD release: 08 November 2005   Runtime: 174 minutes
(3 discs)
Format: Box set, Color, Content/Copy-Protected CD, Dolby, DVD-Video, Enhanced, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono - English, Italian; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - Italian), Subtitles (English, Spanish), Collectibles (40-page collector's booklet, Photo cards, 11x17 Poster), Intro by director Alexander Payne, Audio commentary by critic & film historian Richard Schickel, Fellini TV, Remembering the Sweet Life, Cinecitta: The House of Fellini, "Fellini, Roma and Cinecitta," Photo gallery, Restoration demo, Biographies, Filmographies, Nino Rota documentary, Interviews (Anita Ekberg, Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni), Discussion w/ Fellini colleague Rinaldo Gelend, Footage w/ screenwriter Tullio Pinelli

La Dolce Vita - "the sweet life" - slices seven days out of the life of journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni). We get adultery, murder, suicide, an orgy, a strange and monstrous fish, a castle darkly lit, and several goddesses of the silver screen.

This wondrous film by Federico Fellini is the watershed, if not the masterpiece, in his transition from realistic to more free associative, dreamy and artistic films. Always more a poet than a storyteller, Fellini flexes his episodic skills to create characters by synergizing vignettes, creating a sum greater than the parts.

What emerges are memorable characters wrestling with the universe about the meaning of life. Fellini had a knack for shooting on sets and locations at once particular - and deeply imbued with a sense of place - and archetypal. He also had a knack for working with photographers - in this case Otello Martelli, whose career began in 1919 - capable of photographing dreamscapes with great depth and clarity.

Rubini thinks his existence is bleak. He feels trapped in a meaningless life and marriage, and seeks to emulate Steiner, an older man and an intellectual. Steiner tells the younger man,
"Don't be like me. Salvation doesn't lie within four walls.. Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected."
And Marcello agrees, saying to one of the screen goddesses (Yvonne Furneaux), "A man who agrees to live like this is a finished man, he's nothing but a worm!"

Directionless and desperate, Rubini refuses wormhood emphatically, instead rampantly pursuing the sensuous and the sensual with animal vigor. La Dolce Vita is filled with memorable scenes (like the wading sequence in the Trevi Fountain which carries the myth of Artemis espied in her bath by Aktion to its sexual conclusion) and is, at three hours, transporting enough to warp time.
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reviewed by Brian Charles Clark
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