The Criterion Collection
While much of the movie news this week has to do with superhero movies, here’s something different: Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic, La Dolce Vita, is reportedly getting an official remake in its home country of Italy. According to Indiewire, the late filmmaker’s family and estate have signed off on the redo, which producers are stressing is a “reimagining” and “homage” rather than an actual remake.
But yeah, it’s a remake. Otherwise it wouldn’t require the stamp of approval and presumably the rights to do whatever this new version is. It’s easy to reimagine La Dolce Vita in tribute to Fellini. Woody Allen did so with Celebrity. Others have paid homage in less extensive manners, particularly with respect to the iconic appearance of Anita Ekberg, who passed away earlier this year.
Fellini movies have never been kept from being redone, especially as musicals. Nights of Cabiria was adapted as Sweet Charity and has recently been set up for another English-language version titled Days of Mary. There’s also Nine, the musical redo of 8 1/2, and La Strada kept its title for the Broadway translation. (Of course, Woody Allen also sort of redid – or reimagined and paid homage to – them all as The Purple Rose of Cairo, Stardust Memories and Sweet and Lowdown.)
In a way, an actual remake described as an homage sounds pointless. La Dolce Vita is famous for so many visuals, most of which have received tribute through cinema and advertising and other media in the last 55 years, but a whole new movie should try to make its own iconic imagery rather than once again remind us of the original. Remakes (or reimaginings) should never remind us so much of the previous effort as to make us wish we were watching that instead.
The new, modernized take on La Dolce Vita will be produced by Monika Bacardi and Andrea Iervolino, both of whom are best known for working on last year’s Barry Levinson effort, The Humbling, while the latter also co-produced Michael Radford’s 204 take on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
Be sure to read Scott and Landon’s conversation about La Dolce Vita from their series on the greatest movies of all time. Here’s the most memorable moment from the original, which I actually hope is not redone in the remake (because why bother?):