Sunday Matinee: La Dolce Vita

La dolce vitaThere have been a lot recent deaths in Hollywood, last week’s Sunday Matinee star Rod Taylor passed away this week at the age of 84, movie producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr. died at the age of 88, Italian director Francesco Rosi died at the age of 92 and Anita Ekberg has passed away at the age 83.

Ekberg started her acting career by winning an acting contract with Universal Studios, who put her through acting classes. She started appearing in small parts throughout the ’50s. In 1960 Ekberg co-starred in a role that she would become famous for, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

La Dolce Vita stars Marcello Mastroianni as a reporter who makes his living chasing celebrities around Rome into nightclubs and writing about them in the gossip papers. The movie follows his movements over about seven days and nights, give or take. Mastroianni’s adventures involve him romancing several women over the course of the film starting with Anouk Aimée, a wealthy heiress, his fiancee Yvonne Furneaux and of course Anita Ekberg who essential plays a version of herself, a Swedish-American actress who arrives in Rome and hangs out with Mastoianni one night and ends up in the Trevi Fountain in the film’s most famous scene.

The movie is one of Fellini’s best, depending on my mood I think I prefer it over 8 1/2. Ekberg would gone on to star in more movies including two more Fellini films but her acting career faded by the late 1970’s.
The movie has a hit and widely acclaimed. It won Fellini a Best Director Oscar and it won the Palm D’Or at Cannes. Criterion just released the film on Blu-ray last October and it looks fantastic, like it was shot just yesterday.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka spends most of his life watching movies and reading comic books, using his vast knowledge of genre culture for evil instead of good.