BP’s Top 100 Challenge #61: La Dolce Vita, by Sarah Brinks
I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list has a good number of films I hadn’t seen before so it is a good source for my challenge.
The life styles of the rich and famous can seem exotic and glamour to the rest of us. La Dolce Vita certainly shows that side of life, but it also shows the darker, less appealing side. I found the lead character Marcello fascinating to watch as he balanced his job with his dream of becoming a real writer and his relationship with his hysterical fiancée and his many affairs.
I wonder how I would have reacted if I had seen this before 1997 when Princess Diana died. The paparazzi in La Dolce Vita are shown to be aggressive, disrespectful jerks who will do anything for a photograph. While celebrities, like Sylvia (Anita Edberg), have in many ways sacrificed their rights to privacy, the woman whose husband killed their children and committed suicide is given no space to learn the terrible news. It is hard sometimes to watch how aggressive and insense the paparazzi are throughout the film.
The two storylines I enjoyed the most were the one with Sylvia, the visiting starlet, and the one with Marcello’s father. Ekberg is captivating. Her energy, confidence, and extraordinary beauty combine to make her an alluring figure. Your eye is drawn her in every scene she is in and you understand why everyone who meets her falls all over themselves to be near her. You also see moments when she is clearly over being told how beautiful she is and how much everyone loves her. She is equally lovely running upstairs as she is dancing as she is balancing a hungry kitten on her head.
The other story I really liked was the one in which Marcello’s father comes into town from the country. The two men go out on the town with another paparazzo. Marcello gets a glimpse of what it father was like away from home and the two seem to have a lot in common. In the end, his father realizes that his time for such behaviors has ended but that the chase is still a lot of fun.
My biggest complaint about the film would have to be the runtime. At almost three hours, it is a big ask of its audience. I am not one who is easily swayed by a long runtime or subtitles, but La Dolce Vita felt long at times and did seem to drag in places. The fake miracle tree scene for example felt exhaustively long, as did the final party scene. But all in all it was an entertaining film to watch and one I am happy to have finally seen.
I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)
La Dolce Vita ranking: Cruiser
Sarah’s ranking of the Top 100 movies… so far (100-61):
100. Fight Club
96. Duck Soup
95. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
94. Taxi Driver
93. Werckmeister Harmonies
92. Animal House
91. Raging Bull
90. Blade Runner
89. Wild Strawberries
88. La dolce Vita
86. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
85. To Kill a Mockingbird
82. City of God
81. Grand Illusion
80. The Player
79. The Bridge on the River Kwai
77. Forrest Gump
76. Some Like it Hot
75. Last Year in Marienbad
74. Aguirre, The Wrath of God
72. City Lights
70. The Best Years of Our Lives
69. Paths of Glory
67. Rear Window
65. Eyes Wide Shut
64. Finding Nemo
63. Groundhog Day
61. In The Mood For Love