Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote in federicofellini,
Tony Grist

A Gripe

Testing to see if this community still has any life in it...

A gripe: why are the later films so hard to come by? Has anyone out there ever seen La Voce della Luna? I'm willing to accept that Fellini peaked relatively early on, but I'd like the opportunity to prove it to myself. The one late Fellini I've seen is Intervista- and it's patchy (so is Roma) but there are some unforgettable things in it- and it's still tons better than most of the films by most of people who aren't Fellini.
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i suppose the later films may be harder to find because they weren't as popular. i wouldn't say fellini lost his edge, but 63-70 were his best years. so they have his older ones out and dvd, but my fellini video's were recorded whenever they happened to be on, some of them from the mid 80's even! i saw 3 fellini films on TCM a month ago and i taped "la dolce vita".

63? But that excludes La Dolce Vita doesn't it? And certainly excludes La Strada and Cabiria. For me La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 are the twin peaks(?)- with the first maybe a millimetre or two higher. I also love Roma (and in some moods might put it at the same elevation.)

I used to think Juliet of the Spirits was the greatest film ever made, but it's been so long since I last saw it that I really can't trust my memory. I think it's probably scrappier and less intensely felt than LDV and 8 1/2.
I've never seen La Voce della Luna, but I'm very interested to see it (being one of four I've never seen). Intervista in my opinion is good, if you're willing to go with it; it's a lot like Roma, not a particularly great film, but interesting nonetheless (of course). As for other later works, E la Nave Va is very interesting, if also not quite up to scratch with his later works, and City of Women...well, it is what it is, not great, but not particularly awful either.

When people say Fellini peaked in 63-70, they're forgetting the film that is my personal favorite, even if it isn't his "greatest," and that is Amarcord. Amarcord is a masterpiece on the level of at least La Dolce Vita, if not 8 1/2. Not to mention that even considering it among his greatest films, it's still underappreciated. It's interesting that a lot of films made during his "peak" years are so unheralded (Il Bidone, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits, and Amarcord), and many of these films are among his best, certainly dwarfing the film that I find to be his personal nadir, Casanova.

And speaking of early Fellini: Criterion will release I Vitelloni on dvd for the first time in August, along with La Dolce Vita debuting on dvd that same month, although unfortunately not on Criterion. So save your pennies, folks.
This is great. The community lives!

I agree about Amarcord. One of the best- through FF himself regarded it as a minor work.

And Casanova- Oh dear! I saw it when it first came out and was bitterly disappointed. Maybe if I were to see it again now (with lowered expectations) I'd review it more charitably.

It's true, much of the peak period work is also hard to come by. In Britain, at the moment, the only films available on DVD are La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, Roma and Satyricon. It just ain't good enough!

The reason Casanova suffers so greatly is that Fellini was forced to complete the film to honor a contractual obligation - in other words, he didn't care about the film and didn't put his best work into it. I took a class on Fellini at IU, and I learned (from Peter Bondanella, the guy who did the commentary on La Strada dvd) that Fellini himself hated the Casanova legend, and even before I knew about the circumstances behind the film I noticed that at times Fellini himself seemed bored with the project, as if some scenes were thrown in without consideration to their effect on the whole. All in all, it's Fellini's second-longest film at 166 minutes (only LDV runs longer), but unlike La Dolce Vita, it completely does not warrant the running time. Trimmed to 80-90 minutes, it could've been more interesting. Also, the casting of Donald Sutherland, while interesting in its attempt to debunk the Latin-lover myth, is unfortunately arguably the biggest casting faux pas of Fellini's career, with Sutherland turning in a largely passionless performance (maybe that's part of the character, but it doesn't enhance matters for the viewer in any way). Nevertheless, no Fellini film is wholly without merit, and certain sequences, such as the dance with the marionette, are beautiful and moving despite the chaos.

It must be nice to have LDV on dvd - it STILL hasn't been released yet on that format in America! Supposedly it's coming out in August, but it's on some cheapo company that somehow acquired the rights to it and will not do it justice. Thus, I'm probably going to opt to spend my money on Criterion's aforementioned I Vitelloni.

Other than Ingmar Bergman, I'm pretty sure that Criterion has released more Fellini titles than any other director. And when I look at the ones they've released, it certainly seems to me that if Variety Lights warrants Criterion treatment, then Il Bidone, La Dolce Vita, Satyricon and Roma do as well, although they can't just get any movie they want. Oh well. We'll make do with what's on the market, I suppose.
That first comment amuses me, primarily due to Guido's insanity as a result of his contractual obligation to finish his film. I guess that only adds to the wealth of parallels between them.