We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
I have heard theories that Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" catalogs the seven deadly sins, takes place on the seven hills of Rome, and involves seven nights and seven dawns, but I have never looked into them, because that would reduce the movie to a crossword puzzle. I prefer it as an allegory, a cautionary tale of a man without a center.
Fellini shot the movie in 1959 on the Via Veneto, the Roman street of nightclubs, sidewalk cafes and the parade of the night. His hero is a gossip columnist, Marcello, who chronicles "the sweet life" of fading aristocrats, second-rate movie stars, aging playboys and women of commerce. The role was played by Marcello Mastroianni, and now that his life has ended we can see that it was his most representative. The two Marcellos -- character and actor -- flowed together into a handsome, weary, desperate man, who dreams of someday doing something good, but is trapped in a life of empty nights and lonely dawns.
The movie leaps from one visual extravaganza to another, following Marcello as he chases down stories and women. He has a suicidal fiancee (Magali Noel) at home. In a nightclub, he picks up a promiscuous society beauty (Anouk Aimee), and together they visit the basement lair of a prostitute. The episode ends not in decadence but in sleep; we can never be sure that Marcello has had sex with anyone.
Another dawn. And we begin to understand the film's structure: A series of nights and dawns, descents and ascents. Marcello goes down into subterranean nightclubs, hospital parking lots, the hooker's hovel and an ancient crypt. And he ascends St. Peter's dome, climbs to a choir loft, and to the high-rise apartment of Steiner (Alain Cuny), the intellectual who is his hero. He will even fly over Rome.