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Anita Ekberg's masterclass in Federico Fellini film 'La Dolce Vita' is the greatest 'almost kiss' in cinematic history

“Marcello, come here!”

Sin, pleasures, lust, incredibly appealing and glamorous world of the paparazzi comprising of “cynical newspapermen” take the foreground in Federico Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce VitaThe film is an epic tease with a disillusioned gossip reporter Marcello Rubini, played by the lauded Marcello Mastroianni, leads a life of hedonism and sinful indulgences surrounded by beautiful women, rich heiresses and an addict girlfriend. Anita Ekberg, the contemporary heartthrob, known for her flawless sensuality plays Sylvia, the actress, whose electrifying on-screen chemistry with Mastroianni in a fountain created cinematic history. 

Sylvia is every person’s dream girl. Glorious, sizzling and seductive, she is everything dreams – and the world of showbiz world – is made of. She is divinely beautiful and what every actress aspires to be; free-flowing and ethereal. Concealing herself behind the pointy cat-eye glasses, she is labelled a “great piece of meat”. The audience sympathises with her as she engages in a melancholic and woeful waltz of flirtation with the intriguing Rubini. 

In what is considered to be one of the most epic and fleeting love scenes that emphasise the transience of love and lust, the duo reaches the Trevi fountain to share a moment of cinematic romance. Ekberg as Sylvia is a vision; the strapless black gown cascades down her body, accentuated by the snowy fur that screams elegance. 

Gracefully, she strides into the water and lures Rubini in. As Rubini watches Sylvia enjoy the water, the audience is left gasping at the sheer beauty of the actress. As she ruffles through his head with water, he brings his parted lips close to hers. As we wait for a sizzling fountain-kiss, as a mood kill, the fountain stops flowing — much like their momentary infatuation. As he drags her by the hand, out of the water, it is almost as if visions of desire and lust is dragged out by reality. The three minutes of heightened passion and intense seduction down in history as one of the greatest on-screen non-kisses of all time. Despite them never succumbing to their desire, it leaves goosebumps on the viewer’s skin.

Ekberg, who was well-known as a voluptuous bombshell, left an indelible impression with her blonde hair and black dress clad maiden. Although she almost froze to death while shooting the sequence, Mastroianni, who was drunk on vodka, remained pretty warm. Having shot the sequence in February, Ekberg said that “they had to literally lift me out of the water because I could not feel my legs”. This scene became a hot favourite and lovers flocked to the Trevi Fountain to recreate this scene much to the annoyance of the authorities. On Ekberg’s sixth death anniversary, we look back at this scene fondly which exudes Ekberg’s sex appeal and sheer beauty on-screen. 

Watch the epic scene below which, despite being an ‘almost kiss’ is one of the most passionate scenes of all time which will make us single people want to bury a hole in the ground and cry.