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
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
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
In one of the most widely seen and acclaimed European movies of the 1960s, Federico Fellini featured Marcello Mastrioanni as gossip columnist Marcello Rubini. Having left his dreary provincial existence behind, Marcello wanders through an ultra-modern, ultra-sophisticated, ultra-decadent Rome. He yearns to write seriously, but his inconsequential newspaper pieces bring in more money, and he’s too lazy to argue with this setup. He attaches himself to a bored socialite (Anouk Aimée), whose search for thrills brings them in contact with a bisexual prostitute. The next day, Marcello juggles a personal tragedy (the attempted suicide of his mistress (Yvonne Furneaux)) with the demands of his profession (an interview with none-too-deep film star Anita Ekberg). Throughout his adventures, Marcello’s dreams, fantasies, and nightmares are mirrored by the hedonism around him. With a shrug, he concludes that, while his lifestyle is shallow and ultimately pointless, there’s nothing he can do to change it and so he might as well enjoy it. Fellini’s hallucinatory, circus-like depictions of modern life first earned the adjective “Felliniesque” in this celebrated movie, which also traded on the idea of Rome as a hotbed of sex and decadence. A huge worldwide success, La Dolce Vita won several awards, including a New York Film Critics CIrcle award for Best Foreign Film and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Continue reading
In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the “Arbiter of Elegance” in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence.
The New York Times review, Published: October 16, 1972
Roger Greenspun wrote:
“Fellini’s Roma” is perhaps three-quarters Fellini and one-quarter Rome; a very good proportion for a movie. Although an appreciation of the city informs every part of the movie, Rome is not so much the subject as the occasion for a film that is not quite fiction and surely not fact, but rather the celebration of an imaginative collaboration full of love and awe, suspicion, admiration, exasperation and a measure of well-qualified respect.
It is also, for me, the most enjoyable Fellini in a dozen years, the most surprising, the most exuberant, the most beautiful, the most extravagantly theatrical. The audience I saw it with kept interrupting the film with applause. This isn’t something you normally do at the movies, but it seems proper enough for “Fellini’s Roma.”
Kevin: And the Ship Sails On is one of the last of Federico Fellini’s films, made at the twilight of his career. A lot of critics and even Fellini afficionados don’t give this film its full due; they see it as a morbid take on a past era, shot in morose shades of grey without the kind of elaborate camerawork and carnivalesque air that you find in his 60s films. We’re going to talk about a few of the things that we’ve picked up on in this movie that really make it stand out and worth considering.
Making Music without Rota
K: And the Ship Sails on happens to be the first film that Fellini had made without his longtime collaborator,the legendary composer Nino Rota. Which presents an irony since the film seems so preoccupied with the theme of music and examining music in all its power and mystery over people. Continue reading