Friday, September 19, 2014
I landed up going alone last night to see La Dolce Vita, even after asking at least ten people to go, including the person with whom I saw it first about thirty years ago. I'm a big solo movie-goer, often preferring it to having company. That's mainly because after a movie, a really good movie, I don't want to hear anyone talk but would rather sit under the spell of it all. But I didn't want to go to this one alone, felt sad in the going and when I sat down in my seat, next to a young man with ripped-up jeans who was sitting in my seat and who moved when I told him, I felt a tiny bit irritated. He had weird breath and said incoherent things. He spoke aloud even as the opening credits rolled. He knew nothing about Fellini, laughed and asked what language is this? before he settled in his seat. I imagined the glorious and wild opening scene of Jesus floating through the air, hanging from helicopters, the waving rooftop girls in bikinis and the gorgeous Marcello and Paparazzo gesticulating to them finally silenced this guy, because that opening stunned me into thinking that maybe I'd never seen this movie on the big screen after all. The entire rest of the movie I kept thinking that, too, because how could I have lived this long and not remembered the nearly bodily sensations of joy and humor and disgust that I felt last night in my solo seat? The guy next to me pulled a quart of juice out of his backpack, noisily slurped it throughout the first hour and then finally muttered I don't understand what's going on in this movie!, got up, stumbled over us and left. I breathed an audible sigh of relief, the guy on the other side of me whispered, Was he on something or what? and then he sighed and I relaxed into the rest of the movie and relative oblivion. I'm not going to review the movie because, really, why bother? I don't know whether it was the giant screen or whether I am old now, older than when I first watched it, but dear god -- what a movie. I am prone to hyperbole, true, but this time it decimated me. I wrote as much to the person who I had seen it with thirty years ago -- then I cried all the way home. A very different experience when the screen is so big and you're 51 years old. I was decimated.
But the Umbrian angel Paola still smiles, my friend replied.
Yes. The Umbrian angel still smiles.