By Alessia Ricciardi
Read or Download After la dolce vita : a cultural prehistory of Berlusconi's Italy PDF
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Extra info for After la dolce vita : a cultural prehistory of Berlusconi's Italy
A useful contrast may be drawn between Fellini’s use of architecture and painting in the film. The camera approaches Morandi’s bottles, as it were, with an implicitly competitive attitude and a sure faith that cinema will have the last word. By contrast, architecture exposes more fully than painting does the terminally formulaic condition of modernism in the 1960s and presents itself as the symbolic tombstone of the ideology. This is because, in the Italian sociohistorical context, modernist architecture not only reveals a strong link to Fascism but, during the period of the economic boom, embodies a pathological, manic drive to financial speculation.
The director shoots the interior of the hospital with an emphasis on the abstract, ascetic, modernist qualities of the building, an edifice that, like Steiner’s residence, is located in the EUR. Languid tracking shots frame Marcello and direct our attention to the cold, empty spaces of the hallways and rooms. The cinematography is awash in Sweetness white light, lending itself to an effect that is strikingly distinct from the visual style of the rest of the film. The hallucinatory sequence in the hospital almost seems to belong to another work entirely, such as Antonioni’s The Eclipse or Orson Welles’s The Trial or Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist.
Steiner hosts a gathering of his cosmopolitan, artistically inclined friends, a party to which he has invited Marcello and his unhappy girlfriend, Emma. Several speakers by turns deliver epigrammatic pronouncements on various subjects, but the overall impression is one of tiresome cliché. ) A few moments later, Marcello notices a painting on the wall by that exemplary Italian modernist painter Giorgio Morandi, and expresses his admiration to Steiner, who replies that Morandi is the artist he loves most on account of the painter’s clarity and precision: “Such power, precision and rigor.