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La Dolce Vita (free)

  • Central Library 201 West Mifflin Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The self-destructive hedonism of Federico Fellini's masterpiece still resonates today. Info

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La Dolce Vita is one of Federico Fellini's most enduring films, a rambling journey through Roman society and an deeply personal search for meaning. Marcello Mastroianni plays Marcello, a tabloid journalist who roams through decadent Roman nightlife in search of salacious news while aspiring to become a serious writer. Though he craves bourgeois respectability he is still attracted to the hedonistic world of the rich and famous. Avoiding a traditional plot structure, Fellini instead creates a detailed character portrait of Marcello, showing us the contradictory elements of his nature that eventually lead to his self-destruction.

La Dolce Vita was controversial at the time of its 1960 release—in the US for its sexual themes and in Italy for its satirical barbs towards Catholicism. Though both seem tame by today's standards, Marcello's self-destructive attraction to "la dolce vita" still resonate in today's celebrity-obsessed culture. Fellini fills his sprawling film with dazzling black-and-white widescreen cinematography, making it an unforgettable achievement of 1960s European art-house cinema. Though it is primarily remembered for the iconic scene of Anita Ekberg wading in the Trevi Fountain, La Dolce Vita is filled with scene after scene of unforgettable imagery from the imagination of Federico Fellini. —Ian Adcock

Earlier Event: April 30
Kevin Morby, Hand Habits