Seven days (and nights) in the life of a Marcello, a Roman journalist torn between making something serious of his life or drifting along on a pleasant if empty stream of casual affairs and profitable, but meaningless, newspaper and magazine work. In the course of the week, he flirts with a visiting movie star has a couple of encounters with a bored socialite, one of them in a prostitute's bedroom, is shocked when Steiner, a "serious" writer and deep thinker kills himself and his children, and generally ignores his adoring girlfriend. In the end, he seems to have cut himself adrift on a sea of frivolity and self-disgust, with no real idea of how to find his way "home" again . . .