Is there anything Martin Scorsese can’t do? Filmmaker, producer, documentarian, encylopediac cinephile and more recent film preservationist, the Italian American director’s passion for cinema knows no bounds and audiences are always on the winning receiving end.
Having dazzled audiences with his admiration-led restoration of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger‘s sumptuous ballet classic “The Red Shoes” (now even more gloriously lush), Scorsese is turning his attention to another cinema touchstone, Federico Fellini‘s “La Dolce Vita.” “In my mind, there is a before and after ‘La Dolce Vita,’ ” he told audiences in Rome this weekend when he unveiled a digitally restored copy of Fellini’s cinema milestone.
The story of a passive journalist’s week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come, Scorsese praised the picture for “a moral intensity, an intelligence and a maturity” that was until then unseen in mainstream cinema. Starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg and Anouk Aimée, it was hailed as “one of the most widely seen and acclaimed European movies of the 1960s” by The New York Times. Nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one for Best Costume Design: Black-and-White, “La Dolce Vita” also won the coveted Palme d’Or at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and is widely recognized as one of the most influential foreign films of all time (if you haven’t seen it, what’s wrong with you?). A two-disc DVD set was released in 2004 and has a good introductory appreciation opening by filmmaker Alexander Payne. Aside from being a landmark picture in world cinema, “La Dolce Vita” marks an important juncture in Fellini’s career: his last exercise in expressionism and neo-realism before he would turn cinema on its head with the more abstract “8 1/2” just three years later.
More than 8,000 hours were spent cleaning up the film’s widescreen negative. “La Dolce Vita,” is celebrating its 50th anniversary and the Italian rights owners are releasing the restored version theatrically next week free in 12 local cities. Scorsese’s next picture is the 3D children’s mystery “Hugo Cabret” starring Chloe Moretz, Jude Law and Ben Kingsley and it’s scheduled to arrive in theaters December 9, 2011.[Variety]