Sunday, March 15, 2009


Tullio Pinelli passed away Saturday in Rome at age 100. You probably never heard of him, even if you're a film fanatic. Pinelli was responsible for co-writing several of Federico Fellini’s best films, including I Vitelloni, La Strada, La Dolce Vita, Nights Of Cabiria, Juliet Of The Spirits, and 8 ½.

Federico Fellini, actor Leopoldo Trieste, and Tullio Pinelli

Pinelli didn’t start writing until his late 30s, when he and Fellini met at a newspaper stand, reading two sides of the same newspaper clamped to the kiosk. They loved movies, and had similar ideas about the possibility of infusing life and energy into the grim neo-realism that dominated Italy’s post-war cinema. Drawing upon childhood memory, myth, and a boundless artistic imagination they created a cinema of fantasy, dreams, memory and desire.

Marcello Mastriani in "La Dolce Vita"

In "La Dolce Vita," Marcello is a gossip columnist who chronicles "the sweet life'' of fading aristocrats, second-string film stars, aging Romeos and working girls. Marcello is cynical and exhausted, and he navigates this decadent world in a rumpled suit and shades. He's torn between making something serious of himself, and drifting along in an empty stream of affairs and a profitible--yet meaningless--life as a hack. Sylvia, a giggling American actress, comes to town, and he's enchanted. They drive around Rome at night. In this classic scene, they come upon the Trevi Fountain. Is this his shot at redemption, or complete surrender?

--"La Dolce Vita"

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