La Dolce Vita – Federico Fellini (1960)
“The previous article in the series about music in 1960 covered soundtracks for American films released that year. It was indeed a great year for music made for the movies, and not only in the US. On the other side of the pond a number of countries produced classic movies and soundtracks. We begin this review in The Eternal City and one of the most celebrated director/composer collaborations in the history of film-making. Federico Fellini arrived in the city of Rome in 1939 and spent the early part of his career as a magazine writer and editor. As a young man he experienced the excitement of living in the city and mingling with Rome’s café society, a glittery bohemian world of post-war Italy. In 1958 he started filming a movie loosely based on that period, splitting it into multiple episodes. It took him 6 months to shoot the film and 18 more to edit it. The result was the masterpiece ‘La Dolce Vita’ (The Good Life). Fellini said of his objective for the movie: ‘What I intended was to show the state of Rome’s soul, a way of being of a people. What it became was a scandalous report, a fresco of a street and society. It didn’t have to be Rome. It could have been Bangkok or a thousand other cities. I intended it as a report of Sodom and Gomorrah, a trip into anguish and despair.’ Harper’s Magazine wrote about the film in 1961: ‘All the episodes put together become a catalog of the ills that infest the society of cities. The quest for unusual erotic pleasures, the lack of a rational approach toward personal problems, excessive boredom, extreme cruelty, extravagance and corruption, all resulting in both sexual promiscuity and sexual degeneration.’ The last days of Rome, indeed. The film score was composed, of course, by Nino Rota who wrote the music to all of Fellini’s films from The White Sheik in 1952 to The Orchestra Rehearsal in 1979, the year of Rota’s death. His music added another dimension and lightness to the director’s often-difficult visuals. …”
The Music Aficionado (Video)
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