Fifty years after the release of Federico Fellini’s seminal film La Dolce Vita, the Italian cinematic masterpiece remains emblematic of a period of tremendous excess, decadence, fashion and style. According to author Jean-Pierre Dufreigne:
It became a model of freedom of expression, an act that took elegance out of exclusive, ‘god- fearing’ High Society. In liberating style from tacit and ultra-conventional rules, Fellini created a fresh way of being that would inspire not only the avant-garde of cinema but also advertising and fashion. By blending genres, he wrote a new sociological vocabulary the present day images makers (especially in fashion) continue to tap.
Though fictional and based loosely on the structure of Dante’s Inferno, the film is inspired by life on Rome’s Via Veneto. For source material, Fellini interviewed many of the young photographers working on the popular strip. It was in this way that he struck up a friendship with Tazio Secchiaroli, one of the most well-known of these street photographers. Secchiaroli became the basis for the character ‘Paparazzo’ in the film.
The film was hugely popular in Italy but also importantly in America, where there was a growing interest in European fashion and lifestyle. Ironically, what was meant by Fellini as a comment on the moral decay of a society obsessed with fame and the hedonistic pursuit of pleasure became the most celebrated symbol of that culture.
Pierluigi was a very cultured man and also spoke five languages. He quickly became personal photographer to many of the greatest stars of the day, including Sophia Loren. Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman, Elsa Martinelli and Marlon Brando are also among the stars who chose to be immortalized by the celebrated photographer. Pierluigi soon gained the nickname ‘Lux’ because like the advertisement for the soap claimed, he was ‘the choice of nine stars out of ten’.
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Anouk Aimee in 'La Dolce Vita'
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
24.2 x 18 cms (9.51 x 7.07 ins)
Stamped on the reverse:
'La Dulce Vida'
Caption attached to the reverse reads:
'"LA DOLCE VITA"
Federico Fellini's haunting fresco of contemporary Roman life, "La Dolce Vita" is a series of episodes in the life of a third-rate newspaperman, who gives no thought of tomorrow and caught in the whirlwind of 'sweet life' along Rome's Via Veneto, progresses to the depths of total degradation. While pursuing his rapacious and unscrupulous career of hunting for scandal he finds himself directly involved with many intriguing characters from present day society. Included among them are: a possessive, suicidal mistress; a beautiful, insatiably amorous heiress; two misguided children who lie about seeing a vision of the Madonna causing the death of a believer; a ravishing, infantile Hollywood movie star; a demented intellectual who kills his two children and himself; the decadent nobility; and apathetic artists, writers, parasites, homosexuals, lesbians and prostitutes. All of these are woven into a masterful screen epic which has become the most controversial international film of our time.
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