Sunday, June 19, 2011

La Dolce Vita

Reposted from Alt Screen

LA DOLCE VITA (literally, "the sweet life"; figuratively, less so) unfolds as a series of capsular stories. Nearly all of these vignettes conclude with tragedies of varying magnitudes. Possibly the most startling dénouement comes from the story of the intellectual Steiner, protagonist Marcello Rubini’s long estranged mentor in the literary arts. The two reunite amidst the pews of a church that Steiner frequents, although he’s not attended for religious reasons, but to gain access to the priest’s literary collection and the massive pipe organ. Pumping the instrument’s keys, jesting with a few strains of jazz until reprimanded by the padre, Steiner radiates a mix of confidence and tranquility, while Marcello skulks in the background, slinking into the shadows of the church’s corners, as though trying to shield himself from Steiner’s astute eye.

The reason for Marcello’s attempt to lay low? Shame. Marcello’s behavior, as a gossip columnist, has revealed him to be the type of person not easily cowed into ignominy. Confronted in a nightclub over a recent article in which he revealed an elegant, modestly bejeweled noble as an adulteress, he merely dons dark sunglasses, and shrugs. “I have to inform the public,” he says, “it’s my job. After all, it’s just a little publicity.”