La Dolce Vita
Federico Fellini, 1960, Italy
La Dolce Vita is the Moby Dick of 20th century film. Call him Ishmael. Ishmael the existential detective. Coincidence, you say? The English poet, Iris Tree, acts in both Moby Dick (1956) and La Dolce Vita; is more proof needed? : ) Investigate for yourself, and watch for sea creatures the likes few eyes have seen and understood. The very mystery of life is contained herein.
No Sunday Adventure Club this week, see you next Sunday! (Gone white whale fishin’ . . . )
1946, USA (116 minutes)
This week’s film is not only a mystery film, but it is a Mystery Film: you have to show up at the library and wait for the credits to roll to to learn what the film is.
Based on an influential novel, the main character is a hard-boiled, often-unshaven, chain-smoking, black-coffee-drinking detective — bedeviled by a femme fatale, of course. One of several writers who worked on the project was William Faulkner!
Another clue to the mystery of the Mystery Film is that is has a possible relationship with next week’s detective film, The Big Lebowski . . . Even if you have seen them both, if you haven’t seen them a week apart, you haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the mystery . . .
Five other clues are hidden in plain sight on the poster-about-town of this month’s film schedule.
The Big Lebowski
Joel and Ethan Coen, 1998, USA
In a decadent age when the people believe in nothing, what are the now-unemployed old-fashioned gods supposed to do with themselves? Settle down in Los Angeles, of course, and take up bowling and creative profanity. The Coen Brothers explode Central Casting and unleash an ensemble for the ages: the pacific, overly forgiving New Testament god, the vengeful Old Testament desert god of the Jews, Jesus, Mammon, the Great Goddess . . . Demi-gods like the angel Gabriel, Omniscient Cowboy Narrators who moseyed as far west as they could until they ran out of West, Sadam Hussein moonlighting at the bowling alley, Brunhilda the valkyrie . . .
“We wanted to do a Chandler kind of story – how it moves episodically, and deals with the characters trying to unravel a mystery. As well as having a hopelessly complex plot that’s ultimately unimportant.” —Joel Coen
Believe it or not, the Coen brothers were featured in an article for the industry trade paper Floor Covering Weekly. “Area rugs are playing some prominent roles in one current movie and one soon-to-be-released motion picture. Rugs are a central plot element in 'The Big Lebowski" ...”