Before London defined the swinging ’60s, Rome was the epicenter of a divinely decadent international high life, much of it fueled by Hollywood-financed film shoots. Nobody captured that milieu better than Federico Fellini in his sour exposé of a gossip reporter (Mastroianni) ground down by hard parties and easy hookups. Is Fellini too much the scold in cataloging such media-age sins as self-absorbed celebs and heartless paparazzi (a term that caught on because of the lead shutterbug’s name, Paparazzo)? Maybe. But phooey on anybody who can’t appreciate Vita first and foremost as a peerless, protean act of visual choreography.
EXTRAS Richard Schickel sounds as if he’s snacking partway through his languid but erudite commentary – hey, it’s a long movie – while Alexander Payne (Election) offers a love-letter intro.