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By Harold Jeffreys

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The Via Veneto glitters with international money and glamour; but as soon as Marcello drives his Fiat outside the city walls, it's as if we've dropped off the face of the earth (so validating Deleuze's idea that Fellini's cinema is one of entrances and exits) . Like moonscapes, the space becomes dominated by vast tracts of mud upon which occasion­ ally rises up some monstrously ugly concrete-block building. There is, however, one sequence in the film when an "older" spatial system is evoked, the scene in which Anita Ekberg discovers the Trevi fountain.

Thus, a problematic is set up : to what extent does the "new" or restored map of Italy represent the nation at its historical moment of formation ; and to what extent does it suggest a contamina­ tion by the foreign ? S. foreign policy: namely, that the United States intervenes only to "help" a nation throw off foreign domination and achieve its "narural" borders - and this is certainly one way to render the problematic less threatening. Still, what is being set up in the film is an issue that will become central to European media debates in the coming decade : here, the flowing whiteness engulfing the nation holds the threat of homogenization and loss of culrural identity by the influx of American images in posrwar Europe.

In the thirty years after 1 951, fami­ lies with five or more members declined from 50 percent to 33 percent of the total number of families, while single-person households almost doubled. And finally, in the period from 1950 to 1970, there was an ex­ plosion in the ownership of two products that were definitive in shaping a society of consumption, mobility, and spectacle : the car and the televi­ sion . In those two decades, car ownership jumped from eight cars per thousand Italians to two-hundred cars per thousand; and television own­ ership, negligible in 1950, reached 82 percent of households by 1971 .

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