Buy Tickets

The Essentials: La Dolce Vita (1960)

A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering tabloid journalist living in Rome.
(NR, 174 min.)
Original title: La dolce vita


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

7:00 PM

This monthly series showcases essential films everyone should see on the big screen.
The Essentials series is Free for Members.

The biggest hit from the most popular Italian filmmaker of all time, La dolce vita rocketed Federico Fellini to international mainstream success—ironically, by offering a damning critique of the culture of stardom. A look at the darkness beneath the seductive lifestyles of Rome’s rich and glamorous, the film follows a notorious celebrity journalist (a sublimely cool Marcello Mastroianni) during a hectic week spent on the peripheries of the spotlight. This mordant picture was an incisive commentary on the deepening decadence of contemporary Europe, and it provided a prescient glimpse of just how gossip- and fame-obsessed our society would become.

Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée
Director: Federico Fellini
Language: Italian
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Watch Trailer

"Truly unforgettable."

— Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Intoxicating on every level."

— Alan Rudolph, Criterion

"This film defined a decade before the decade arrived."

— Nigel Andrews, Financial Times

"[La Dolce Vita] propelled Fellini into the front rank of international directors."

— David Stratton, The Australian

"Marcello's journey is a string of remarkable vignettes that delivers fashion and sociology in equal measure."

— Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

"It received universal acclaim upon its release in 1960, and in retrospect it's the work that best represents its director."

— Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

"As much as La Strada, 8 1/2 or Amarcord, La Dolce Vita still marks a summit of Fellini and of post-war Italian moviemaking."

— Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

"It's a comic, cutting and prophetic poem to Rome, movie stars, gossip and the lifestyles we have hungered to know more about ever since the first 'celebrity.'"

— Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel

"The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films ... and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones."

— Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Rather than wallow in cynicism, Fellini's genius is characterised by a zest for life -- albeit a tragically insatiable one -- as he sprinkles dreamlike snapshots like glitter in the darkness."

— Stella Papamichael,

"Everyone else will simply admire, in slack-jawed stupor, the way this 51-year-old time capsule thoroughly predicts the era of TMZ, Paris Hilton and celebutante overload. Everything has changed, and nothing has changed."

— David Fear, Time Out

"La Dolce Vita lives forever. Fellini may have set out to explore the outer delirium and inner rot among a subsection of pampered starlets, amoral gossip-hounds, pretentious socialites and funereal aristocrats at the peak of Italy's Economic Miracle and burgeoning gliteratti culture, but Vita is a universal fable, as universal as Dante's Inferno."

— Michael Joshua Rowin, The L Magazine

"[Fellini's] best films live and breathe and morph, none more so than the picaresque La dolce vita(1960), which may be his most nearly perfect, astutely rueful, least sentimental work: an improbably entertaining, three-hour tragicomedy about people frantically trying, without much success, to stay entertained. [It's also] one of the most prescient of all films."

— Gary Giddins, Criterion