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Fellini's La Dolce Vita

When: Nov. 17-18, 4 p.m. 2012

A rare negative review of La Dolce Vita (from the Chicago Reader) objects that the 1960 classic is “really nothing more than the old C.B. DeMille formula of titillation and moralizing.” This contains a grain of truth — Fellini’s bitter ode to Rome’s “sweet life” makes drinking, dancing, lounging, philandering and partying until dawn both visually arresting and existentially alienating. The film’s loose plot follows a tabloid journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) as he womanizes his way through a series of surrealism-tinged vignettes: Paparazzi swarm an American film star; partygoers find a sea monster washed up on a beach. Cinematographer Otello Martelli’s rich black-and-white images are unforgettable — perhaps none more so than Anita Ekberg’s impromptu swim in the Trevi fountain. Prepare to be titillated.

Emily Bartlett Hines

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