Feb 132022

La Dolce Vita is considered by many as a masterpiece and while I certainly “get” what Federico Fellini was going for, I just didn’t find it all that interesting or especially engaging, barely managing to sit through the nearly 3-hour running time.



La Dolce Vita

Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Paramount| NR – 175 min. – $17.99 | February 8, 2022

Date Published: 02/13/2022 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Federico Fellini
Writer(s): Federico Fellini & Ennio Flaiano & Tullio Pinelli (story and screenplay)
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimee, Yvonne Furneaux, Magali Noel

Features: Introduction
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: Italian (Dolby TrueHD 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Italian
Disc Size: 44.96 GB
Total Bitrate: 33.64 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 1¾/5

Plot Synopsis: Restless reporter Marcello Rubini (MARCELLO MASTROIANNI) drifts through life in Rome. While Marcello contends with the overdose taken by his girlfriend, Emma (YVONNE FURNEAUX), he also pursues heiress Maddalena (ANOUK AIMEE) and movie star Sylvia (ANITA EKBERG), embracing a carefree approach to living. Despite his hedonistic attitude, Marcello does have moments of quiet reflection, resulting in an intriguing cinematic character study.

Quick Hit Review: I might take some heat for this, and I acknowledge Federico Fellini was an influential director influencing generations of directors like Martin Scorsese, but for me it doesn’t seem his films (so far) have impressed me. Several years ago I saw and while from a technical standpoint it’s remarkable, the story and character aspects didn’t. Maybe I’ll give it another chance down the road, however. This latest is La Dolce Vita, a movie I know of only because a short clip was in one of my favorite movies, Lost in Translation.

Within the first 35-minutes I knew what Fellini was going for, a critique of the hollowness of the upper-class/autocratic society. But then I would have to endure another 2+ hours of a cad of a main character who was difficult to follow as it is his through his eyes we get to see this week long journey through Rome and the… colorful supporting roles he comes across. Now I’m all for movies that center on despicable characters but the story should at least be reasonably interesting. Instead, I often found myself dozing off for a few seconds at a time, having to force myself to get through this (took two watches), this despite deliberately avoiding watching late at night.

I guess if I had anything positive to say, as this was split into seven “episodes”, the one involving Marcello’s estranged father did at least have some emotion behind it, especially at the end. It’s kind of bittersweet as you see the frailty of the father-son relationship. Actually made me feel for Marcello for the first and only time.

One other oddity that  I didn’t understand, and perhaps there’s some reason maybe due to dubbing issues or something, but there was a mix of Italian and English dialogue that would go back and forth, more than  a few times within a conversation. Threw me for a loop. (As a side, I did ask online for an explanation and does make a bit of sense, still was over-my-head while watching.)

As a whole, I can see why others might think this is a masterpiece as the direction itself has some nice shots and there is an interesting character at its core, but for myself, and acknowledging I am in the vast minority, I felt the messaging wasn’t all that interesting, especially stretching it to nearly three hours.



The only feature is an Introduction (2:30) by Director Martin Scorsese discussing Federico Fellini’s influence on other filmmakers.


VIDEO – 4½/5

Per the opening text before the start of the film:
This digital restoration was carried out starting from the original camera negative-which was shot on Telescope (2.35) on Dupont film stock and scanned at 4K resolution. Some sections of the film showed clear signs of decay. Some frames, particularly at the beginning of each reel, were seriously damaged and irreparably affected by mold; therefore, a lavender print was scanned for those sections. Following scanning, the images were stabilized and cleaned to eliminate signs of age such as spotting, scratches, and visible splices. In order to bring back the original splendor of the film, the digital grading was executed with particular care, using a vintage copy as a reference, as well as a copy restored in the mid-‘90s for Mediaset – Medusa… The contribution of Ennio Guarnieri, DP Otello Martelli’s camera assistant, was invaluable at this stage.

La Dolce Vita comes to Blu-ray presented in the original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer, which was taken from a 4K restoration by Cineteca di Bologna, supervised by The Film Foundation. The black and white picture looks quite good, detail is fairly sharp throughout especially for close-ups. But still there was the natural film noise still present and I didn’t notice any significant instances of specs or general film damage. The contrast on this also looks very good with whites not appearing blown out and black levels being stark without seeming crushed.

AUDIO – 4¼/5

Per the opening text before the start of the film:
The original sound was digitally restored using the 35 mm optical track, from which a positive track was printed. Following the acquisition of this element, digital cleaning and background noise reduction was applied. […] The restoration was carried out at L’immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in 2010.

The film comes with two tracks, the first is an Italian-language PCM Mono track, the other an English-language Dolby Digital Mono track, the former received some restoration work back in 2010. Switching back and forth a few times, the Italian track clearly was superior showing no signs of pops or hissing and dialogue coming across nicely while the other is a bit rougher yet still serviceable for anyone who doesn’t like reading subtitles.



La Dolce Vita is considered by many as a masterpiece and while I certainly “get” what Federico Fellini was going for, I just didn’t find it all that interesting or especially engaging, barely managing to sit through the nearly 3-hour running time. Perhaps Fellini isn’t my cup of tea since I wasn’t the biggest fan of either. However, this isn’t a bad movie for sure and given The Criterion Collection release is OOP and commands a steep price, this might be worth picking up since, at the time of this writing, it’s <$15.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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