Tag Archives: Federico Fellini

Two morons, a goon, and a pizza place.

54. La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954)

I have a love/hate relationship with Fellini‘s work. I love La Dolce Vita, and I hate this film.

The premise for this film is that some idiot girl, played annoying by Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina, is sold off by her poor family to circus strongman Anthony Quinn. She becomes his partner in his act. Quinn is a total prick who basically abuses her, and she shuts up takes it. That’s your movie.

Masina mugs for the camera the whole movie, making these stupid faces that you want to punch, and she takes so much shit from Quinn, that you wonder why she stays. There was one point where she could have left and went off with an equally annoying performer called “The Fool”. All that guy does is run around like a spaz. His laugh is this completely and utterly irritating high-pitched giggle, and he does it constantly. He is equally punchable.

There’s like 6 scenes of her dancing and playing with children, which get old very quickly.  I guess she’s supposed to be gentle, childlike soul or something. I just thought she was retarded.

It’s always a bad sign when the characters that you are supposed to sympathize with annoy the shit out of you. This movie has that in spades. This is in conjunction with the fact that Anthony Quinn’s character is so unsympathetic that you can’t even find solace in him.

This movie is highly punchable.

The poster isn’t bad though.

On filmaffinity.com I gave this film 5/10. I don’t know why it’s even a 5.

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All Tomorrow’s Parties

24. La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini, 1960

I have a fondness for posters that depict ‘dry-humping’. Really there just isn’t enough of that.

This film was my introduction to Fellini, and to a fine piece of man-candy in Marcello Mastroianni. Think of Mastroianni and Fellini, as De Niro and Scorsese. This is a 3 hour film where nothing really happens. It’s the standard Fellini film, nicely shot, meanders an awful lot, and in the end you are not sure what to do with it.

In this case I found reading about it helped me gain an understanding that I didn’t have. The whole point of the film is that it is about a guy who wants to change, but doesn’t do anything about it. And so the fact that the movie doesn’t really build to anything is the whole point. Each sequence in the film is an isolated incident, we don’t learn anything about the Marcello, and he doesn’t learn anything about himself.

It’s all set against a backdrop ofame and indulgence. Mastroianni plays Marcello a tabloid writer who wants to do something worthwhile, but is to busy living the sweet life(la dolce vita) to really do anything about it. He is surrounded by glamour, excitement, and action. He basically travels from party to party, getting drunk and fucking around. Everyone else is doing the same thing. His world is hollow but oh so seductive.

The film is really interesting in the fact that it doesn’t resolve itself. Marcello isn’t changed at the end, but he isn’t worse off or anything. Just a little bit older that’s all. The things I feud Fellini about are sometimes the same things I really like about him. Fellini makes these slow moving, meandering pictures with plenty of boring parts in them, but in the end it’s that very fact that makes the movie memorable. I read someone’s quote on imdb, that basically suggested it was the waiting for something to happen scenes in Fellini’s films that set up the good parts and ultimately make the picture.

You typically want to see the character change, or achieve some resolution, but in this and in 8 1/2, nothing really is different at the end of the movie. So on one hand it can be seen as a waste of time, but on the other hand that’s the whole point. Sometimes people don’t change. But it’s not often that movies are made about that.

On filmaffinity.com I gave this film an 8/10, it’s wonderful to look at, and it’s both simple in design and complex in meaning. Plus it has Nico in it. It’s not for everyone, though.