Cinerama: La Dolce Vita

Posted: September 10, 2009 in Cinerama

dolce_vitaLa Dolce Vita

By Mike Derderian

Special to the Star

The sweet life—and believe me life is sweet—is a sentiment felt more compellingly when you are with a person you love. Just the other day I decided to take a walk in Swaifiah. As I walked around, I couldn’t but watch a young couple holding hands, smiling and glancing at each other. It was obvious that they were in love.

In a way I felt happy for them. However, I wasn’t the only one looking. Other people were staring at them as if something was very wrong.

Then it hit me. The handholding. What a mistake! —If you can call it a mistake.

The whole incident took me back to one of the unforgettable moments in Italian cinema history. The famous fountain scene from the black and white 1960-movie “La Dolce Vita”; directed by Federico Fellini, stars Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg.

The scene took place at the Fontana di Trevi, a fountain in Rome. After a wild party, journalist Marcello Rubini (Mastroianni) and movie star Sylvia (Ekberg)—although exhausted from partying—decided to walk on the streets of Rome. They laughed as they kept walking until they reached the fountain and decided to rest for few moments. And then—in an act of spontaneity—Sylvia decided to plunge into the fountain.

The gorgeous Sylvia took off her shoes and walked into the fountain dancing, splashing water at Marcello, who was breath-taken by her beauty [the actress was elected Miss Sweden in 1950].

Marcello stood still until Sylvia said in a joyful yet desirable tone, “Marcello, Marcello come over here.” After a moment of hesitation, Marcello took off his shoes and joined Sylvia in her innocent play.

The camera first showed us a wide-angle shot of the whole scene; then it began to close in on the two characters embracing and staring into each other’s eyes. Finally, the camera focused on their faces as they kissed. However, this magical moment didn’t last long—as all good things in life come to an end.

The romantic moment was interrupted by a policeman, who was shouting at them angrily. telling them what they are doing is shameful for the fountain is a government’s property. He then ordered them out of the fountain.

Embarrassed, Marccello grabbed Sylvia’s hand, while she was still laughing, and helped her out of the fountain. The couple hurried away as they apologized to the policeman.

After they left, the policeman started mumbling how people nowadays have no respect for traditions anymore—loving each other in public!

The last moment in the scene was rather comical as Fellini’s touch of sarcasm was evident. After putting us in a romantic mood, Fellini suddenly pulled us away from that fantasy and pushed us back into reality.

La Dolce Vita’s events were during the 1960s as its 167 minutes offered us an opportunity to see what the world was like back then through the eyes of one of Italy’s greatest film directors.

Most of Fellini’s films made life appear as a large circus through bizarre themes and strange atmospheres. And the art of cinema was never the same afterwards.

  1. mikevderderian says:

    This is my first movie column. It got published back in March 2003. Will publish all my column entries through which you will notice how my writing evolved from simple to complicated to straightforward and to the point.

  2. mikevderderian says:

    By the way If you ask me if still life is a bowl of cherries…I would tell you that the little boy selling gum at the traffic light at 11:30 p.m would tend to differ…

    Meaning life is not sweet…it comes in different flavors…

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