Almost all film fans, cineastes and even lay people, know of or have heard of the film LA DOLCE VITA. This was the biggest hit from the then little know Italian film director Federico Fellini. The film sent his name intergalactic and allowed for broader film fans to see his films. In some respects, its popularity could be attributed to its stars, Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg. Other reasons given are that it offered a view into the world of celebrity. Although a damning critique of the culture of stardom and the fetishization of it. Celebrity journalist (Mastroianni) is living the ‘Good Life’. He floats around the city of Rome. Living in bars, streets and cars. Drink and sex flow and the decadence of fame, success and stardom, all merge into a living nightmare. When his girlfriend Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) overdoses, he saves her but cant save himself. His desire makes him pursue heiress Maddalena (Anouk Aimée) and rising high movie star Sylvia (Anita Ekberg). Despite the hedonistic attitude, little good seems to come from it and as he reflects, so he reveals the emptiness at his and fames heart.

Fellini was and still is known as the greatest Italian film director. So much has been discussed about Fellini, by the great and good, dull and delusional, that the master of the everyday absurd and surreal, is as well known as Jesus. LA DOLCE VITA is my least favourite of his widely known films for a few reasons and as such I will not bore you with my review (put simply, it blurs the sardonic nature of Fellinis best work, with too much fame adulation that could be read in multiple ways). However what Criterion have done here, is release a film that has already been sent out into the world thanks to Cult Films. That version was both delightful in the 4K transfer and pitiful in the utter lack of any quality extras.


Criterion give us a 4K, 4K transfer. This is as good as the Cult Films release. They are both from the same source. Same stock. Same restoration. This is a good thing. That restoration is absolutely excellent indeed. The tonal light issues of the standard definition version, and the horrid exterior blurring are all corrected. So all good here.


Cult Films failed in only one area. It lacked any decent extras in my opinion. Criterion have revealed they have deep pockets and care about our need for extra details. The best extras here are the interview with filmmaker Lina Wertmüller and the interview with scholar David Forgacs. The former is like a voyage through film making and working with Fellini, Mastroianni and other names. Wertmüller is engaging and open. The latter sees Forgacs talking about the film in its place within Rome and culture of the period. Really worth the time for a grounding. There is also more. A lot more extras that add to the films reading and rewatching. If you love the film, then buy it. If you are less inclined. Buy it. I would have done and will probably do.


  • New 4K digital restoration by The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, an assistant director on the film
  • New interview with scholar David Forgacs about the period in Italian history when the film was made
  • New interview with Italian journalist Antonello Sarno
  • Interview with director Federico Fellini from 1965
  • Audio interview with actor Marcello Mastroianni from the early 1960s
  • Felliniana, a presentation of La dolce vita ephemera from the collection of Don Young
  • New visual essay by filmmaker : : kogonada
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Gary Giddins

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