It’s better to be rich and beautiful. Or is it... Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita asked questions which may well have been a little hard to answer for Hungarian audiences at the time. It did, however, lend the phrase ‘dolcevita’ to the Hungarian language. It was a phrase that everyone interpreted in their own way. Some people saw it as a kind of affinity with the Italian lifestyle, while others saw it as a metaphor for a frivolous but attractive life. Of course, there were also others whose hearts were touched by the images of a dissolute tableau of a seemingly sweet but essentially wasted existence. By this time, Fellini was already a well-known director – he had already completed La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. La Dolce Vita, however, barely resembled his previous works. It had a more laid back and episodic structure. Yet though the plot is loose, under the sweet, frothy surface lies anxiety, bewilderment and solitude. And confusion, borne out of a transformation taking place in Italian culture. In small flashes, it reveals how our protagonists are incapable of merging their traditions with the modern and suddenly exploding metropolitan – and consumer –lifestyle. Because in 1960, Roma is living a new golden age. The Olympic Games, as well as the first ever televised broadcast of the Olympics. Fashion and design are blossoming. As is riding round in a very cool American car... No one was thinking, however, about what the story’s characters would be like half a century on. Then Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty (2013) played with that thought. It’s worth watching both films. Maybe even one after the other.