Handsome, cool, ironic and wise in an unique, self-conscious and somewhat desperate way, he has been the face of Italy throughout its difficult passage from war-torn country to apparently unbeatable economic and intellectual superpower, to the disillusioned mess of today, destroyed by the corruption of its ruling class. He played leading roles in Neorealistic movies, in comedies, dramas and arthouse features – yet his sly smile always came through, always Mastroianni before his characters.
Mastroianni was, of course, also the protagonist of the Fellini films that made the whole world fall in love with Italy: La dolce vita, but also 8 ½, Intervista and other titles like Ginger & Fred or La città delle donne, where he actually became the beloved alter ego of the director himself. This partnership strongly benefitted both of them and Italian cinema in general, overshadowing other movies no less important than those mentioned above. To this day, watching most Marcello Mastroianni movies remains a great way to really understand the evolution of the Italian society, as demonstrated by his enduring fame as an Italian icon.