Sunday 15 April 2018
‘Not such a dolce vita‘ 2018 11.34pm
I started watching La dolce vita (1960) with my wife but after 75 minutes I could see she was struggling to stay awake. Not just because of its weirdness – the scene with the children who say they have seen The Blessed Virgin, floating in a field, her feet not touching the ground, for instance – but because of its aimless, meandering, episodic manner, and its length. I told her she could give up on it if she wanted and she did. It’s not that she couldn’t have watched it all under other circumstances. It’s Sunday night, it’s been busy, and she was going to snooze through most of it. Better to be a good husband and stop. We watched a couple of episode of The Good Wife, Season 5 instead. They were good episodes, right after the big twist, and it was the right thing to do.
It’s a very different thing for me to be in the last quarter of my project having subjected myself to so many other films from Europe that are considered to be amongst the greatest films ever made. But, to torture her with a film that seemed to have no discernible purpose, was more than I could ask of her. For me, it had less of a traditional story than I thought for a Fellini film of this period. It was slow and seemed pointless. I didn’t throw in the towel, I just delayed watching the last 105 minutes by 90-minutes. It felt more like Antonioni or Godard than what I’d expected from Fellini, having liked both I Vitelloni (1953) and La strada‘s (1954) more conventional storytelling.