Fellini -- where to start?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kirk Tsai, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    While doing a search on the theaters nearby today, I noticed that one of the theaters was playing Ju1iet of the Spirits. I had meant to start catching up films by European masters, so I ask, is this a good one to start with? If not, should I see "Juliet" until I see some of Fellini's other films? Remember, this is actually seeing a film print of it instead of a DVD or any kind of home video medium.

    And in general, which films would you recommend to a complete Fellini newbie like me? Which ones to start with? Thanks.
     
  2. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Some people think that JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (or even 8-1/2) marks the point at which Fellini finally went over the deep end, indulging his worst tendencies and sacrificing all the true emotion and poignance of his earlier work, and the brilliance that he'd never again achieve.
    But I actually quite like JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, and believe the decline began with SATYRICON! [​IMG]
    I don't see any reason why not to begin with JULIET, but IMO it's not as good as La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, La Dolce Vita, or 8-1/2. And I also really love I, Vitelloni - in many ways this one's my favorite - but I think those previous four would likely be considered his best and most important.
     
  3. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    Kirk,
    Personally, I'd skip Juliet until you've seen more of his work. I'd start with 8 1/2 which comes out on Tuesday from Criterion.
    Jeff
     
  4. Luc D

    Luc D Second Unit

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    It's playing in a movie theatre? GO SEE IT NOW DAMMIT! You probably wont get this good a chance again. And it doesn't matter if you like it or not, watching any Fellini film with a crowd is a great experience.
     
  5. Jason Hughes

    Jason Hughes Supporting Actor

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    Avoid City of Women
     
  6. Michael S Estes

    Michael S Estes Auditioning

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  7. David Egan

    David Egan Stunt Coordinator

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    As mentioned, LA STRADA, NIGHTS OF CABIRIA and LA DOLCE VITA are must see. FELLINI'S ROMA, a strangely constructed film with no story, is also quite wonderful.
     
  8. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    After learning that Juliet of the Spirits was a two day engagement instead of an at least weekend long showing, I went to see it. I had followed the news carefully, but I was told this was a newly restored print of the film. It shows. Except for a few rough reel changes, the film is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are incrediably vibrant, every frame seems sharp, and the depth of the images rivaled any other movie I've seen this year. Great work, for whomever did the restoration.

    Speaking of gorgeous, this movie is like an eye candy. Having never seen a Fellini film, his compositions and framing were extremely striking. Obviously I have nothing to compare to, but the use of colors and lighting is also bold and distinct; there's always something to look at during the movie. The camera is also controlled expertly. The opening scene has Gulieta preparing for her romantic dinner in the bathroom; the camera is always flowing freely, shooting at different angles of the mirrors but never showing her face. When fantasy sequences occur, the exaggerated images and characters are all very detailed. You can almost feel the smog and walk in the weird settings.

    Other than the look of the film, I must confess that I did not find the story and character very engaging. Except for a few, most of her fantasies don't seem to have tremedous importance. Instead of feeling that she was finding herself through these experiences, I got the feeling that she was closer to insanity instead. And the use of the fantasy sequences sometimes brought on some nasty images, which I'm sure the filmmakers wanted for us to feel what she was, but I don't know if it was necessary or helpful to my understanding of her. I wanted to feel for her, but never quite did.

    Nino Rota's score is also quite odd. At first I thought Rota was using a cheery theme to accompany the fantasy sequences, but later that proved to be inncorrect. Can someone explain the use of music to me? Is it trying to contrast the feelings that Juliet is feeling?

    Overall, I would say seeing it was worth my time and money. There are many images that are striking and haunting; they will stay with me. But the story and the use of the fantasy sequences did not get me.
     

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