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One of the true landmarks in film history (and one of my all-time favorites), La Dolce Vita is a powerful and profound film that is absolutely mesmerizing -- from the now infamous opening scene of a helicopter carrying a statue of Christ flying over Rome's ancient ruins, to the metaphorically loaded prehistoric fish washing ashore at the end. Federico Fellini's masterpiece is not only a caustic critique of modern Rome, but it's pertinent to all modern society as well. The corrosion of community, of traditional values, and the crushing consequences of modernization have never been displayed in a more beautifully poignant manner. Indeed, the film seems to be rather prophetic with its cautionary underpinnings, and amazingly, that message is just as relevant today as it was back then. What continues to amaze me is how this film -- a film that essentially is about the "nothingness" and shallow nature of modern man -- can be so meaningful and heartfelt. Our hearts break as our protagonist, Marcello Rubini (a frustrated tabloid journalist who's stuck between the "old world" and the "new world"), tries desperately to find some meaning in his shallow, materialistic existence, and we feel the bittersweet moment where he begrudgingly accepts the life he leads. But rather than wallow in cynicism, Fellini's genius is characterized by a zest for life -- albeit a tragically insatiable one. Coming in at nearly three hours, the film remarkably never feels boring, it's rich in intelligent observation, and it shares some wisdom without being preachy -- exemplifying Fellini's gift for entertaining and amusing. There seems to be a lot films that are labeled "classics" (some deserving, some not), but you'd be hard-pressed to find a lot of films that are more classic, and more important, than La Dolce Vita. An absolute must-see.