La Dolce Vita is a very interesting movie directed by Fellini which portrays issues as they are in the real world. The director (Fellini) captures certain characters in the movie to communicate occurrences in real life situations. It is interesting to watch how the director portrays the tabloid media and the journalists who engage in creating hysteria and sensation in issues which occur in the movie.
The director portrays the media as dishonest, opportunistic and intrusive which very similar to the media in current times. The way the director portrays the media is thought to provoke as I cannot resist comparing this with the way the media has revealed scandals in the recent past amidst accusations of blackmail, betrayal, and bribery from the political class and entrepreneurs.
Furthermore the media today is more celebrity-oriented than ever before, as they sometimes only capture the key figures in life and their employees themselves are celebrities. This is exactly what the director is trying to capture in this movie shot in the 1960s.
Though some people may not like the movie because of morality and religious reasons, it is important for a person to understand what the director (Fellini) wanted to communicate before criticizing the movie. The lifestyles, especially by some of the characters Fellini uses ( for example Marcello), is lavish, opportunistic and immoral and the way the movie starts with a statue of Jesus below the first plane flying over Rome makes a person of a staunch moral character built on religious values to burst with criticism and complain.
This is further worsened by the cheering half naked (bikini dressed) women seen on rooftops. This was tantamount to the ridicule of the second coming of Jesus Christ! No wonder the Roman Catholic Church highly criticized the movie and Fellini banned from traveling to Spain!
Could Fellini have known that what he was portraying while shooting the movie would reflect the society almost fifty years later? This is a critical question which comes to my mind when I watch the way Fellini displays relationships in the movie. The kinds of relationships which are portrayed in La Dolce Vita are those laden with alcohol, drugs, infidelity, partying, betrayal, sex and escape from reality.
This is portrayed by the way Marcello goes around sleeping with women including journalists and being unfaithful to some of them who had built trust in him. This is no doubt related to issues which occur today with revelations (from the media) of the political class and celebrities betraying their families by being unfaithful for example having maidens in secret and away from their families.
Fellini portrays a generation which exhibits a lack of the need of God, loose moral values and courting Satan by lack of morality (for example Dante). Therefore criticism of the director (Fellini) for shooting such a movie is welcomed. The way Fellini portrays chorus girls dressed like cats and the unrecognizable creature is a circus phenomenon which is scaring and almost irritating.
Critically analyzing the circus phenomenon which portrays girls dressed like cats and other circus phenomena in the movie, the director portrays the paradoxes and contradictions of the real world and he does this best by exaggeration. Fellini further uses Marcello as a central character to portray this phenomenon.
The scandals surrounding the movie at the time of production further give a true depiction of modern society. The movie was shot during Wilma Montesi’s death where suspicion of conspiracy and murder arose, causing politicians, journalists, and film stars to brush shoulders.
This aspect by Fellini reflects l the deviations from societal morals which occur in our lives in current times. It is therefore inevitable to infer that Fellini’s movie revolved around what was happening in Rome (as elaborated above) as this is almost a mirror of the current society.
(La Dolce Vita. Dir. Federico Fellini. 1965. Film).