What if you lust after your pure yet sexy cousin (Stefania Sandrelli), but are thwarted by a mustachioed spouse (Daniela Rocca)? If you’re a Sicilian aristo, the epitome of masculinity (Mastroianni), you arrange events so you can play the murderously jealous husband.
Fellini’s intoxicating portrayal of decadence in postwar Rome is at once a lavishly picaresque romp and a jarringly wistful fable. Mastroianni is nothing short of iconic in the role of tabloid journalist Marcello Rubini, who, in the narrative span of a week, heeds the paired siren calls of professional ambition and personal indulgence.
Mastroianni radiates brooding energy as Giovanni Pontano, a successful novelist who, along with his wife (Jeanne Moreau), spends a night drifting through the unsettlingly superficial social settings of 1960s Milan. Shot in lusciously textured black-and-white, the film offers a melancholic, unblinking portrait of a time and a place, a social class, and a marriage.
In this idiosyncratic puzzle film, Mastroianni gave his penultimate performance as three different characters: a married man who abandons his wife, a lecturer at the Sorbonne who becomes a beggar, and a mysterious butler. Or are they all the same man? New restoration!