Essential Fellini

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Essential Fellini

#251 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:53 am

If you have the time, I actually think chronological order is the best way to go. I didn't only because of access, but I think there's a progression from The White Sheik to 8 1/2, whether it's aesthetic or thematic, that develops beautifully and best appreciated in chronological order.

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#252 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:44 am

If you get the set and are going to watch them all anyway, I definitely recommend chronological. Actually, I'd be hard pressed to think of another famous director whose oeuvre is more befitting a chronological viewing. Godard, maybe?

Fellini's work is a real tour not only through his changing ideas about art but through 20th century Italy--the post-war years, to the "economic miracle," to cultural revolution. It's real interesting stuff (once you get past The White Sheik).

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: Essential Fellini

#253 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:37 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 11:47 pm
I'd begin with the run between when he started and ended working with Masina (La strada through Juliet, including non-Masina films)
Of course, he worked with Masina on Variety Lights and The White Sheik too, so might as well recommend everything from 1950 through 1965, which is what I would do. La Strada remains hit-and-miss with me (although I enjoyed Anthony Quinn's performance much better with his actual voice in the English-dubbed version), but the film he made when he couldn't initially get La Strada financed (I Vitelloni) is a masterpiece and, I feel, quite superior to the more celebrated Quinn/Masina/Baseheart film.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: Essential Fellini

#254 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Dec 10, 2020 3:26 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:37 pm
La Strada remains hit-and-miss with me (although I enjoyed Anthony Quinn's performance much better with his actual voice in the English-dubbed version), but the film he made when he couldn't initially get La Strada financed (I Vitelloni) is a masterpiece and, I feel, quite superior to the more celebrated Quinn/Masina/Baseheart film.
Same here. I've seen I Vitelloni quite a few times over many years, and it's grown a lot on me. It is indeed a masterpiece and second only to 8 1/2 as my favorite Fellini film.

I tried revisiting La Strada and posted about it six years ago on this forum:
Watched this again for only the second time ever. This was my first exposure to Fellini, and I did like it quite a bit in high school, but watching it now, it seems terribly overrated...Masina's performance definitely is an acquired taste (or maybe just polarizing)...The allegorical story is a little simplistic and some of the heavier reversals feel a little crude. There are some fine moments, but few, if any, that leave a really strong impression. Even the ending feels more schematic and predictable rather than tragic and memorable. I read what the film's trying to do, and they're not bad ideas
SpoilerShow
to show his point-of-view, they drop out the sound of the beach and the waves, leaving only a vacuum followed by Quinn's own breath. He's thrown away the one person who loved him and now he's completely alone, probably forever. And having him look up to the night sky even reminds one of Matto's words, how if a pebble had no purpose, neither would anything else, not even the stars (and it even feels like a "starless" night).
But again, it feels a little too schematic rather than genuinely moving...

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: Essential Fellini

#255 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:31 am

This is one of my favorites from Fellini. I'm happy it looks this good.
I Vitelloni... bluray.com

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#256 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:15 am

FrauBlucher wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:31 am
This is one of my favorites from Fellini. I'm happy it looks this good.
I Vitelloni... bluray.com
It is a good transfer, but that review fails to mention a pretty major problem baked into the source material. Chris' review for this site mentions it:
Chris Galloway wrote:The image is stable and clear most of the time, delivering a sharp and highly detailed image, but the picture can suddenly take on a dupier look or suddenly begin to pulse and shift. There are also a number of moments where the picture goes from sharp to blurry, jumping back and forth, as though the elements may have warped. This can get a bit heavier in the latter half of the film.

Calvin
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#257 Post by Calvin » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:22 am

It turns out that the new restoration of Ginger and Fred was released in Italy at the start of 2020. On DVD-only. French label Tamasa are also planning a Blu-Ray for 2021, though there's no chance of it being English-friendly.

User avatar
OldBobbyPeru
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#258 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:42 pm

I picked up the KL version of Casanova, and I'm pleased with it. It's better than the Mr Bongo version I had. It includes the English soundtrack, and indeed, defaults to it. I find it a bit jarring, although I haven't sat down to watch the film yet. I first saw it on its first run in 1976 here in the states, and I guess that was with the English soundtrack. Anyone have any thoughts on which soundtrack is best?

User avatar
Dylan
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:28 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#259 Post by Dylan » Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:04 pm

The English version was the first one I saw, and from memory the English dub lends a bit of camp to the (already outlandish) proceedings that isn't there in the Italian version, not unlike the English dub of Polanski's The Tenant. That isn't a negative thing in my opinion, it just adds another flavor to the mix. Overall, I would say that the Italian version of Fellini's Casanova is the most authentic to the director's intentions and dramatically works best despite not having the lead actor's voice. But the English track is a worthy alternative and I applaud Kino for including it.

Going by your description, the Kino must look great in motion because from the screen caps I think the earlier Mr. Bongo release looks more faithful to Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography.

User avatar
OldBobbyPeru
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#260 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:08 pm

The screencaps don't do it justice. I don't know which one is more faithful to the original cinematography, but the Mr Bongo version looks darker after seeing this, and not in a good way. It's a good transfer, and I'm glad to have it. Most likely I saw it with the English soundtrack when I saw this theatrically in 1976. But it's nice to have both soundtracks.

User avatar
Dylan
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:28 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#261 Post by Dylan » Thu Jan 07, 2021 6:14 pm

Interestingly, in America Fellini's Casanova was marketed by Universal Pictures as being "his first English language film" even though most of Fellini's previous films had English dubbed releases in America that were at least as professionally done as this one was.

Great to know that the Kino looks better in motion. I would be curious to read your take on the commentary when you get around to it - the review I read made it sound exquisite. I really love this film, which in my opinion is Fellini's final masterpiece (though I'm a fan of all of his films after this - when I was a teenager I couldn't warm up to some of his '80s work but now I love all of it).

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#262 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:07 pm

I've been making my way through the set and, to my surprise, thoroughly enjoyed both revisits and long-ignored films in the director's canon. I still wouldn't call myself a disciple, but I'm no longer the detractor who feels apathetic towards 8 1/2- it only took a handful of open-minded returns to find that love! Variety Lights was a consistently engaging early taste of the existential bite from La Dolce Vita, complete with a cyclical structure of man repressing opportunities to learn and face his defects, repeating futile attempts to obtain the unattainable- yet magnetically sought after- elixir in another person. Il Bidone was a fine film that deliberately took its full two hours to build to a great final act, and Crawford's conversation with the young girl is one of the most subtly powerful scenes in Fellini's career. I'm not sure I find the ending as ambiguous as The KieslowskiHaze though, since I interpreted it pretty cynically as a refusal of redemption via self-fulfilling prophecy, but I'm curious whatever he found to be slightly more complex there. The White Sheik is a film I had seen twice before and never liked, so I guess the third time's the charm because I was bowled over by a solid chunk of this watching Fellini entering full screwball mode, establishing a precursor to his late-career lighthearted jovial affairs, but here grounded to observational humor rather than floating off into extravagant dreamlands of hollow substance. Every mannerism Leopoldo Trieste exhibits is funny, and Bovo, who is a much less talented comic performer, still gets her laughs from situational absurdities like the way she asks a small child for help with the utmost sincerity through dramatic hysterics. If only Fellini stuck in this mode for his later films that exuded similar magical tones, I'd probably enjoy his entire career a lot more.. but who knows, if these returns are any indication, maybe I'll really enjoy those later films too when I get to them.

I watched Juliet of the Spirits last night and again this morning, following a recent revisit when I got the set last month, and these three condensed viewings have only supported its steady climb onto my All-Time list. I'll probably write a bit more about it for the 60s project, but the film expresses a deliciously imaginative evolution of one's psychological navigation through their internal parts (using the IFS modality I've alluded to elsewhere) - parts of the psyche that impede and support the path to self-actualization, at various junctures of processing identity within a social context. Of course I'm going to love a movie that projects Jungian archetypes and Freudian ideas as externalized phantasmagoria into the frameworks of modern subjective therapies, but this is also the definitive picture for the overused proclamation "Pure Cinema," and one of the most satisfying examples of shared dream logic between viewer and subject ever made. Moral of the story: Rewatching films with an open mind is an invaluable life decision.

La Dolce Vita is still his best though, and the best tragedy ever captured on film, relaying the Western individualist’s existential plights of perpetual longing in a fashion that pierces through layers of relatability like no other film ever has, or likely ever will

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#263 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:26 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:07 pm
Il Bidone was a fine film that deliberately took its full two hours to build to a great final act, and Crawford's conversation with the young girl is one of the most subtly powerful scenes in Fellini's career. I'm not sure I find the ending as ambiguous as The KieslowskiHaze though, since I interpreted it pretty cynically as a refusal of redemption via self-fulfilling prophecy, but I'm curious whatever he found to be slightly more complex there.
I think it has to do with my Catholic upbringing, a biographical fact I share with Fellini (and one of the reasons I've always loved his movies). Though I am no longer Catholic, I think anyone who was raised in that church will tell you that fundamental parts of its worldview remain ingrained.

At the heart of Catholicism is the interplay of sinning and forgiveness. The notion that God will forgive you as long as you are truly sorry is an essential aspect of Catholic belief. You do not necessarily have to right the wrongs or make amends with other people; the crucial thing is that you truly feel guilt and that you honestly ask God for forgiveness.
SpoilerShow
Regarding the end of Il Bidone, Crawford's seemingly genuine guilt--even though he's done nothing to right his wrongs, and even though it's clearly a cynical attempt to get right with God at the hour of his own death (see also: The Irishman), the Catholic stance would be that this moment could be truly redemptive.

Part of me thinks "bullshit." He was (seemingly) lying about the money after all; his last act on earth was stealing a disabled person's money and then feigning moral outrage about that theft in an attempt to keep all of it. Pretty vile stuff. But that flickering Catholic part of me is still open to the possibility that he was redeemed through the sheer force of his guilt (See also: La Strada).

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#264 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:49 am

SpoilerShow
Yeah I ‘get’ the catholic stuff too, though it seemed to me that instead of pleading to God at first he was begging his men to get some of the money back, saying that he “needed” it, as if it was his God. His default wasn’t towards guilt but doubling down on his clinging to money that he felt was rightfully his. Perhaps the most telling part to me was that the film kept going for another few minutes- much longer than I felt was necessary, at first- to show him failing to hail down a car that would save his life. I suppose that’s where the ambiguity lay for my reading- Fellini gesturing that either an interventionist God exists and calls bullshit and refuses Crawford’s prayers, or there is no interventionist Catholic God (or he exists but doesn’t care about Crawford), and Crawford’s failure to do ‘right’ is what killed him. I definitely think it’s an example of Fellini’s snide jabs at Catholicism, rather than his entertaining of Catholic principles, but I think you’re right on the money with how he’s playing with those ideas, and I look forward to an eventual revisit to see if I lean more in the direction of your reading.

User avatar
modernmalaise
Joined: Thu May 18, 2017 10:12 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#265 Post by modernmalaise » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:11 am

TheKieslowskiHaze wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:26 am
SpoilerShow
Regarding the end of Il Bidone, Crawford's seemingly genuine guilt--even though he's done nothing to right his wrongs, and even though it's clearly a cynical attempt to get right with God at the hour of his own death (see also: The Irishman), the Catholic stance would be that this moment could be truly redemptive.

Part of me thinks "bullshit." He was (seemingly) lying about the money after all; his last act on earth was stealing a disabled person's money and then feigning moral outrage about that theft in an attempt to keep all of it. Pretty vile stuff. But that flickering Catholic part of me is still open to the possibility that he was redeemed through the sheer force of his guilt (See also: La Strada).
therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:49 am
SpoilerShow
Yeah I ‘get’ the catholic stuff too, though it seemed to me that instead of pleading to God at first he was begging his men to get some of the money back, saying that he “needed” it, as if it was his God. His default wasn’t towards guilt but doubling down on his clinging to money that he felt was rightfully his.
SpoilerShow
Well, he needed the money for his daughter Patrizia as he did tell her earlier he'd get the 200,000 or so lira she needs to finish schooling. I do think he felt guilty for taking money in the final con. But perhaps more importantly, there was parental guilt, having started with her first appearance in the film and him realizing she's grown up without him, and later amplified with his public arrest. This adds another dimension in that if he really did think the money was rightfully his, then there was a more respectable reason in him wanting to support his struggling daughter, rather than being his usual greedy self. It's not as if he could tell his fellow con-men he needs to keep the money for his daughter...it would have been easier to go the moral outrage route and pretend there was no money. But it's a no-win situation when you're dealing with folks who don't bat an eye in stealing from a disabled person. I'm more optimistic: I think he's changed for the better and he comes close to redemption but doesn't find it because of what he is/was. Very noir in that regard. However, with the Catholic angle (which I always fail to consider, never having been religious), he would find redemption. I suppose I should revisit Fellini's oeuvre in this light.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#266 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:23 am

Good point- the shame on his face during the conversation with the 'other' daughter before that final confrontation sells his moral ambivalence as he wrestles with what he feels he has to do. I don't think there's any hinted interventionist or self-guided redemption (Fellini shows us way too much footage after he could have cut to demonstrate optimistic-leaning ambiguity there) but regardless of how alone he may feel in those trying last few minutes of the film, I can get on board with the enigmatic unknowable question of how God works, with Fellini himself rather split, showing the only way he knows how to engage being a Catholic, but not exactly hopeful either.

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#267 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:36 pm

Making my way through this set quite slowly. Every film and every supplement in order. One benefit to this meticulous (and ridiculous?) method:

Supplemental interviews with Fellini early in the set, mainly because of the people doing those interviews and the types of questions they ask, nicely presage the arrival of the critic in 8 1/2. Watching a lot of Criterion special features over the years has lead me to believe that culture journalism hit peak high-brow pretentiousness in the 1960s. Fellini satirizes this well in 8 1/2.

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: Essential Fellini

#268 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat Feb 27, 2021 6:45 pm

I started off the set watching Variety Lights, which looks amazing. I decided I'm going to watch the discs in order. I'm curious... how are folks watching, all films first then extras or discs in order (like me) or watching films and extras randomly?

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: Essential Fellini

#269 Post by CSM126 » Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:38 pm

In order, saving the extras. Also: slowly

User avatar
willoneill
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:10 am
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Essential Fellini

#270 Post by willoneill » Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:17 pm

In order, with the other Fellini works inserted into the schedule at their appropriate times. Extras are after each film, with the exception of the doc on Variety Lights which I'm saving for last.

User avatar
TheKieslowskiHaze
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:37 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#271 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:59 pm

I'm fully exhausting each disc before moving on to the next. Slowly. If I just go through the films with no extras, I know my motivation to go back through hours and hours of extras would be low. Alternating movies and supplements breaks it up nicely.

User avatar
FrauBlucher
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:28 pm
Location: Greenwich Village

Re: Essential Fellini

#272 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:13 am

I’m surprised they put the doc Felini: I’m a Born Liar on the first disc with Variety Lights

User avatar
OldBobbyPeru
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:15 am

Re: Essential Fellini

#273 Post by OldBobbyPeru » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:32 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 9:13 am
I’m surprised they put the doc Felini: I’m a Born Liar on the first disc with Variety Lights
It had to go somewhere. It's really a stand alone doc, whereas 'Ciao, Federico' is basically about shooting Satyricon, so I left it with the extras for that film. What I've been doing is to watch the films in chronological order, and watching film specific extras after that film. The stand alone docs I watch when the mood strikes. I ripped the entire set to my Plex server, and made a playlist of all my Fellini works. So my Fellini retrospective (Which I've been stretching out for months--I don't want it to end) started with Variety Lights, and now is ready for Casanova. It will end with The Voice of the Moon. Then I'll start over. :)

I'm so glad that Criterion did this set, it's amazing. I have this plus copies of all the works that weren't included due to rights issues. I highly recommend gathering those as it's helpful to fill in the blanks that the non-included works create. Between Amarcord and E la nave va is a gap of ten years that is when he made Casanova, Orchestra Rehearsal, and City of Women.

User avatar
schellenbergk
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:03 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#274 Post by schellenbergk » Thu Mar 04, 2021 9:07 am

CSM126 wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 9:38 pm
In order, saving the extras. Also: slowly
We instituted “Fellini Fridays” at our house back in January! So we’re slowly getting through the set. By we I am including my subtitle averse spouse. For Fellini an exception to the “no subtitles for joint viewing” rule has been made. However, I can’t get my spouse to watch the extras ever so I will loop back and watch those after we finish.

We are going in order- watched Satyricon last Friday - better than I remembered. Roma is on tap for tomorrow - and I am sneaking the new Kino Casanova into the set in its proper chronological place - after Amarcord if my info is correct.

The only film that disappointed was La Dolce Vita - for some reason neither of us enjoyed this one. Not sure why...

Cokelike
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:40 pm

Re: Essential Fellini

#275 Post by Cokelike » Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:00 pm

Hi all,

We are watching in order here also, every Saturday night. And, yes, I had to spring for all the other blu rays to complete my collection. (Except for Fred and Ginger and I still would like to get Spirits of the Dead, but I have a TCM airing of that on dvdr). We finished La Dolce Vita last Saturday.

Overall, absolutely thrilled with this set, and floored by the transfers. I had no idea how good these old films could look. And many of them I'd never seen before. Its been so wonderful to discover how great they all are. Especially Nights of Cabiria.

Quick question for those who may have an idea. Why is the doctor who treated the suicidal girlfriend in La Dolce Vita putting on his shoes when Marcello enters. Is it because he changed his shoes after the girl threw up on them?

Post Reply