What to Rent

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In which film savant Iggy Cortez gives you something to watch this weekend when you ask the cute girl from CC to your room to “watch a movie.”

By the fourth week of school you know there is no turning back, and what better way to take refuge but in the movies? Fellni’s exuberant films are the perfect antidote to how small life can sometimes feel. The master of organized chaos, his surrealist worlds are always fantastical yet firmly planted in a recognizably unpretentious sense of existential angst. While less celebrated than his masterpiece, 8½, La Dolce Vita makes the perfect introduction to a body of work as irreverent as it is profound. Set in Rome in the 60s, at the height of Italy’s economic rebirth, Fellini’s famous alter-ego, Marcello Mastroianni, plays a tabloid journalist wondering aimlessly from one decadent party to another, his unbearable sense of emptiness occasionally pierced by archetypes of beauty.

And Fellini’s sensibility for beauty, of course, is unrivaled precisely because of his thorough grasp of the base and vulgar. It is impossible not to fall in love with Anouk Aimee’s perfect portrayal of the bored, European bourgeois, or with the innocent girl screaming inaudibly to Marcello at the beach at the film’s conclusion. Even the movie’s most iconic (and clichéd) scene,, in which Anita Ekberg wades through the Trevi Fountain in her Rubenesque glory, remains bewildering at each viewing.

Narrow minds have condemned this film as moralistic, a remarkably short-sighted remark since Fellini clearly condemns and participates in the hyperbolic vignettes he creates. He draughts his caricatures with the bitchiness we all have for the social circles we hate but can not do without. And as always with Fellini, it is the beauty, not the moralism, that endures. We will all certainly feel that “there is more to life than this,” at some point in the semester, and entertainingly and unsentimentally La Dolce Vita can restore your sense of the world in all of its messy abundance.

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1 Comment

  1. inverse square

    oh man. i knew i had seen that unpretentious sense of existential angst somewhere.

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