Fellow Film Club Members & Movie Buffs:
Perhaps the best description of the Club’s theme for March would Grandiose Italian Cinema, where we can mix with the wealthy, the aristocracy, & the hangers on.
February ended abruptly, and March is coming in like a lamb. Spring is so close now in the Northwest, buds are already developing, braving the still cold nights. There is always something grand about the coming of Spring, and in part, celebrating that passionate grandiosity, we are going to view some films about the upper strata of Italian society; starting with the incredible LA GRAND BELLEZZA (2013), our theatrical pick playing now at the Grand Cinema. What classic Italian film would trace some similar themes? Of course, that’s correct, Federico Fellini’s LA DOLCE VITA (1960). Come join us this Friday, March 7, 2014, for a viewing of this classic film.
Writer/Director Federico Fellini has been discussed many times here, since his films have been screened by the Club several times. Let me just say that like a lot of movie geniuses, he had a bombastic, short-tempered demeanor while shooting a film–something he made no attempt to hide when the camera was on him. He died on October 31, 1993, the same day as River Phoenix, who got more press coverage. He passed away one day after celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary. He is buried in a bronze tomb with his wife at the cemetery of Rimini.
Trivia: LA DOLCE VITA was voted the 6th greatest film of all time by ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. The famous scene in the Trevi fountain was shot in March. Anita Ekberg, a true Swede, waded around in the freezing water half-naked & never complained. Marcello wore a wet sit under his regular clothes, and he still swilled Vodka to warm himself; actually he was considered drunk when they shot the scene.
This was Roger Ebert’s favorite film. He watched it a reputed 25 times. Producer Dino De Laurentiis left the project after Fellini refused to cast Paul Newman in the lead part; De Laurentiis felt that Mastroianni was,”too soft & goody-goody.” to play the part.
The film could not be shown in Spain until after Franco’s death in 1981, because of moral censorship. The term paparazzo means “sparrow” in Italian. Fellini coined the phrase because he felt the photographers were hopping & scurrying around celebrities like sparrows. There was a scene between Marcello and an older writer, Dolores, played by former Oscar winner Luise Rainer, but she was “difficult to direct” so Fellini cut the whole scene. Henry Fonda was going to play Steiner, but when he dropped out Fellini cast Alain Cuny, who had been recommended by Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The film has seven major episodes, with a prologue, an intermezzo,& an epilogue, and symbolically they could resemble the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Sacraments, the Seven Virtues, or the Seven Days of Creation. The final scene that deals with the “sea monster” was used again in the new film, THE GREAT BEAUTY (2013).
The movie’s musical score was by Nino Rota, who brilliantly wrote scores for 176 films from 1933. He died at only 67 years of age. He was Fellini’s favorite score composer, writing music for WHITE SHEIK (1952), LA STRADA (1954), NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1957), 8 1/2 (1963), JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (1965), FELLINI SATYRICON (1968),
FELLINI ROMA (1970), AMACORD (1973), & FELLINI’S CASANOVA (1976). In addition, and in between he wrote scores for WAR & PEACE (1956), UNDER 10 FLAGS (1960), PURPLE NOON (1960), THE LEOPARD (1963), ROMEO & JULIET (1968), & all THE GODFATHER films.
The cinematographer for the film was Otello Martelli, who lensed 83 films from 1919-1966, including PAISAN (1946), BITTER RICE (1949), STROMBOLI (1950), & he worked with Fellini on LA STRADA, CABIRIA, & LA DOLCE VITA.
TIME OUT reported, “The stylish cinematography in Fellini’s bizarre, extravagant visuals are absolutely riveting.”
LA DOLCE VITA (1960)
Written & Directed by Federico Fellini @ 174 minutes.
The film stars Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee, Lex Barker, & Yvonne Furneaux.
Synopsis: This is a fascinating series of seven scenarios depicting both a week in the life of a charming philandering paparazzo journalist, who would like to be a more serious writer, & who seems torn between the elite Roman social scene & what he considers a stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend–and a glimpse of his future.
Tagline: The most talked about movie today!
Roman scandels–bound to shock with its truth!
The film was nominated for three Oscars, and it won one for Best Costume Design. At Cannes it won the Palm d’Or.
Rubini: “A man who agrees to live like this is a finished man, nothing but a worm. I do not believe in your aggressive, sticky, maternal Love–I don’t need it, have no use for it. It isn’t love, it’s brutalization.”
Rotten Tomatoes reported a 96% Critic’s approval, & a 91% Audience approval for the film.
Roger Ebert wrote,”The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood there at the dividing point between the Neo-Realism of his earlier films, and the carnival visuals of his very extravagant later ones.”
Wesley Lowell of CINEMA SIGHT wrote,”A lovely Italian palette that questions if we can really settle down to a normal life of domestic struggle without first having lived life at its sweetest, its best.”
Cole Smithey of DAILY RADAR wrote, “The satire on display is so simultaneously subtle, yet blatent as well, that the move itself is intoxicating.”
Philip Martin of the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT GAZETTE wrote: “No matter how many times you have watched this film, Fellini’s premise operates on so many levels it’s tough to know where he’s coming from, or headed toward.”
So definitely mark your cinephile calendars for this Friday, March 7, 2014, and join the Tacoma Film Club as we screen Federico Fellini’s masterpiece LA DOLCE VITA (1960) at the Center for Spiritual Living, the church building we use for such occasions; located at 206 North J Street, on the corner of Division & J Streets, across from the Group Health Hospital. Doors are open around 6:15 p.m. Come early & join many of us downstairs in the remodeled kitchen for fun & fellowship. It is permitted, & appreciated, for folks to bring along snacks, & beverages, including wine–to share with others. Remember it is not permitted to bring snacks or beverages upstairs into the sanctuary. Please tidy up the kitchen after yourselves. Diane Jensen will be there, and anyone interested in renewing their TFC membership, or joining us as a new member, please see her. You will receive a terrific membership card. The cost is still, even after ten years, only $20.00 per year.
We have had some incidents recently where some people bring beverages into the sanctuary; Please, do not do this–it breaks our rental agreement with the Church.
In addition, though it should be obvious, please silence & do not text or use your cell phones while the film is screening. Such behavior is both rude & offensive to others.
LA DOLCE VITA will screen upstairs at 7:15 p.m. The movie runs 174 minutes, so it should be over before 10:30 p.m. You will find a Donation Box in the sanctuary, & any monies collected are used to help the Club pay the rental on the space, host several parties, design & print up membership cards, and pay a hefty fee for the license required to allow us to screen films for the public. See you at the movies!