Federico Fellini – Giulietta degli spiriti AKA Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

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Fellini lore has it that the master made “Juliet of the Spirits” as a gift for his wife. Like many husbands, he gave her the gift he really wanted for himself. The movie, starring a sad-eyed Giulietta Masina who fears her husband is cheating, suggests she’d be happier if she were more like her neighbor, a buxom temptress who entertains men in a tree house. Continue reading

Gianfranco Angelucci & Liliane Betti – E il Casanova di Fellini? aka And Fellini’s Casanova? (1975)

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…the “crypto-documentary” by Gianfranco Angelucci amd Liliana Betti E il Casanova di Fellini? (And Fellini’s Casanova?) made for the RAI, in which Federico submits some friends to a screen test for the part of Casanova: Mastroianni, Tognazzi, Gassman, Alain Cuny and an exhilarating Alberto Sordi deeply involved in the part. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – I vitelloni (1953)

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Five men walk arm-in-arm through a sleepy Adriatic town, their lockstep a gentle echo of Italy’s Fascistic past. Such posses are quite common in Italy, where close male friendships, equal parts sensuality and ritual, are second only to the family in importance. I Vitelloni (the best sense of it is “the idlers”), Fellini’s third film, includes some of his most subtle filmmaking and most personal material. Loosely structured and oddly narrated, I Vitelloni is like a sketch for both La Dolce Vita and Amarcord. Paradoxically, I Vitelloni is also an insightful and accurate representation of Italy in the immediate postwar period, full of references to the massive social changes underway. Fifty years after its release, I Vitelloni can finally be seen as a seminal film in Italian cinema, one of the first to detail the effects of technology, celebrity, and mobility on Italian life. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – Intervista [+extras] (1987)

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Synopsis:
Cinecitta, the huge movie studio outside Rome, is 50 years old and Fellini is interviewed by a Japanese TV crew about the films he has made there over the years as he begins production on his latest film. A young actor portrays Fellini arriving at Cinecitta the first time by trolley to interview a star. Marcello Mastroianni dressed as Mandrake the Magician floats by a window and Fellini followed by TV crew takes him to Anita Ekberg’s villa where the Trevi fountain scene from Dolce vita, La (1960) is shown on a sheet that appears and disappears as if by magic. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – Amarcord aka I Remember [+Commentary] (1973)

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SYNOPSIS:
In this carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy during the Fascist period, Federico Fellini’s most personal film satirizes his youth and turns daily life into a circus of social rituals, adolescent desires, male fantasies, and political subterfuge, all set to Nina Rota’s classic, nostalgia-tinged score. The Academy Award-winning Amarcord remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – La città delle donne AKA City of Women (1980)

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Marcello is in the compartment of an Italian train, facing forward when the mineral water of the woman seated across from him starts to fall toward him. He catches the bottle and makes eye contact and follows her when she leaves the compartment. For a few moments she finds him attractive too. Then suddenly she gets off the train and starts walking through a field. Marcello follows her, loses her, finds himself in a large hotel surrounded by women. A feminist conference is taking place and he tries to escape. Continue reading

Federico Fellini – La Strada AKA The Road (1954)

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Quote:
La Strada is Federico Fellini’s moving masterpiece that explores the soul’s eternal conflict between the heart and mind. Zampano (Anthony Quinn) is a cruel, traveling carnival strongman who buys his assistant, a simple minded young woman named Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), from her poverty-stricken family. Gelsomina is innocent and childlike (Masina’s exquisite performance is as comic as it is heartbreaking). She does Zampano’s bidding without question or resistance, even though he is abusive to her. He abandons her in the street to spend the night with a woman. He lashes her with a tree branch when she misquotes her introductory lines. He forces her to steal from a convent. Yet, she remains faithful and uncomplaining. Continue reading