Whoo! I was sure worried after you guys hyped this movie up so much! How could it possibly live up to all these expectations, right? But then that opening sequence with Guido stuck in a traffic jam and everybody staring at him as smoke starts to seep into the car and everything that follows is just so magnificent (even though I had seen that particular screenshot so many times) that I was sure I wouldn’t be disappointed even if the rest of the film didn’t live up to the brilliance of those beginning shots. And then come those beautiful panoramic shots of the spa where Guido is staying and Ride of the Valkyries is playing in the background and it feels like the camera is moving keeping time with the music and the score suddenly turns diegetic as we realize that there’s an orchestra present that’s playing the music.
I don’t have a lot to say about the film unfortunately despite the fact that I completely fell in love with it and feel like I got so much out of it. It’s just hard for me to articulate why this movie filled me with exhilaration and made me want to pick up my camera and go out and take pictures even if I don’t know exactly what it is I want them to be about. Part personal essay, part-fantasy, part-dream and part-recollections… it’s poetic, touching, laugh-out-loud funny and ultimately inspiring even. Wow.
I absolutely adored the childhood sequences with Saraghina and the magic chants but the fantasy with Guido as the master of the house is even more fun! And the way that particular fantasy sequence begins with Luisa and Carla meeting and complimenting each other — awesome!
There’s something really hypnotic about the whole film that gives me goosebumps even as I’m typing this. Those scenes with the magician and the final sequence with everyone gathering around are just so memorable. Btw, we’ve already added this to the FYC thread for Score/Soundtrack, right? Because it so totally belongs there! And I was thinking while I was watching it that this is definitely a film where I could probably just literally pick a random screenshot and it would deserve it’s place in the thread. So stunning even when it’s somewhat grotesque. I wish I had enough talent to take a series of pictures inspired by this movie… and then put them on my wall!
And if there’s still someone left that hasn’t watched this movie, and if none of the stuff above is convincing, watch it for the array of beautiful women it features. Anouk Aimee .
A couple more things I remembered just now. One, this film feels really different from Nights in Cabiria and La Strada and perhaps even La Dolce Vita, which are the 3 other Fellini films I’ve watched prior to this. Secondly, despite it seemingly arthouse quality, the basic idea of someone going through a creative block and ending up making some kind of life-change is so universal and accessible. I am sure there’s more to be gotten from the film than this but I was surprised by how much I was able to feel for Guido ultimately. Loved the almost-phantasmogorical, circus-type ending too.