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.
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Roger Ryan
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Re: Essential Fellini

#276 Post by Roger Ryan » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:36 pm

Cokelike wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 2:00 pm
... 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?
I've always taken the "shoe" business to imply the doctor had just engaged in unseemly behavior with the semi-conscious girlfriend (removing his shoes before climbing onto the table with her). This kind of cruelty or misogynistic behavior is prevalent throughout the film and not always in obvious ways - all towards making the idea of "the sweet life" even more ironic.

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Roscoe
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Re: Essential Fellini

#277 Post by Roscoe » Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:55 pm

The business with the shoes always seemed to me to underline how casual the atmosphere of that hospital is -- there's no sense of urgency anywhere. The doctor doesn't even have his shoes on.

Cokelike
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Re: Essential Fellini

#278 Post by Cokelike » Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:55 pm

Interesting replies. Thanks. As a follow up, what do you all make of the timeline of the film? I know one theory (maybe I'm remembering from an old commentary track or maybe i read somewhere) says the film takes place over 7 nights and days. Whereas, somewhere else i read the last scene, the striptease party takes place at a future point in time. Supposedly he has more gray hair, he's aged significantly more, etc. If so, how much later is this scene supposed to be and what does everyone think?

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Essential Fellini

#279 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:49 pm

Cokelike wrote:
Wed Mar 24, 2021 9:55 pm
Interesting replies. Thanks. As a follow up, what do you all make of the timeline of the film? I know one theory (maybe I'm remembering from an old commentary track or maybe i read somewhere) says the film takes place over 7 nights and days. Whereas, somewhere else i read the last scene, the striptease party takes place at a future point in time. Supposedly he has more gray hair, he's aged significantly more, etc. If so, how much later is this scene supposed to be and what does everyone think?
The final scene definitely takes place at least a couple of years later after the events seen in the rest of the film (which I believe do occur over a fairly short period of time). It's implied in the dialogue that Rubini has given up journalism and has been an agent long enough to gain a questionable reputation (going from being a somewhat more objective bystander to becoming an active participant in the tawdry celebrity world). It can't be too many years later since Paola, the young girl he met at the outdoor cafe, hasn't aged appreciably. His more prominent gray hair is perhaps more an indication that his excesses have begun to age him prematurely.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Essential Fellini

#280 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:34 pm

It's thematically relevant that we aren't privy to information about time (outside of a few examples, I don't think we're meant to believe that these days occur consecutively or that they even need to be happening within a short period of time). This Sisyphean narrative pre-beach house party could be stretched out over years for all we know. I don't interpret it that way with any rigidity, but it's fitting to the feeling of Marcello trapped in this existence- for him to be stuck in a depressing relationship, running into Maddalena repetitively without any romance realised and then running back into her (Tomorrow? A month later? Years?) only to have the same experience of desperate pining through inebriated self-forgetting history, to be dreaming about a change of careers with no motivation to actualize it, and so on. The film primarily functions as a portrayal of the Western individualist’s cyclical purgatory state of existential plights via perpetual longing for elusive contentment, and so for Fellini to trivialize time- our most imposing measurable tool of forward momentum, as well as the one that psychologically impacts us all and binds us in a collective harmony- he's fatalistically expressing the helplessness of Marcello by isolating his character away from social intimacy, personal growth, or hope.

Sometimes I like to think of the final episode as occurring less than a few years later because the implication that he could turn grey so quickly and devolve into regressive behaviors is even more tragic than assuming there was a longer progression. Fellini crafts this film in such a fluid way where I could be easily convinced that other chapters occurred with longer time gaps between one another than between them and the final chapter. Marcello spends the entire film treading water in a state of immobile apathy and looks the same, has the same romantic partner, routine, etc., so for him to finally surrender and transition into grey-haired full-tilt deviant Marcello with a shorter time occurring between the sixth day and the seventh that we see is appropriate within its internal logic. But again, time is meaningless here, and that's very much the point.

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: Essential Fellini

#281 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:57 am

Since I finished the movies the other night...

My Totally Definitive and Objective Ranking of the Boxset's Movies that I Will Never Change or Re-Order:

1: 8 1/2
2: La Dolce Vita
3: Nights of Cabiria
4: La Strada
5: Roma
6: And the Ship Sails On
7: Fellini Satyricon
8: I Vitteloni
9: Il Bidone
10: Juliet of the Spirits
11: Amarcord
12: Variety Lights
13: The White Sheik
14: Intervista

Pretty basic top four, I know, but I truly love those movies. As for the boxset, I still have to get through the special features of Intervista, the doc about M.M., and the book of essays.

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What A Disgrace
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Re: Essential Fellini

#282 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:13 am

What about Toby Dammit.

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: Essential Fellini

#283 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Sat Mar 27, 2021 10:33 am

What A Disgrace wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:13 am
What about Toby Dammit.
After admittedly very little internal waffling, I decided not to consider it a movie.

If I did, I'd put it between Variety Lights and Amarcord.

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schellenbergk
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Re: Essential Fellini

#284 Post by schellenbergk » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:29 pm

Cokelike wrote:
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.
We finished And the Ship Sails On last night (wonderful film which I had not seen before! The transfer looks great.) So we have only one film left - Intervista after which I will loopback and watch all the extras and the last disc.

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: Essential Fellini

#285 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Mon Apr 19, 2021 7:35 am

Watched Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember last night. Quite good, even if overlong.

With that, I've completed the set. Every movie, every essay, every special feature (except the commentaries, which I typically skip).

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Essential Fellini

#286 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun May 16, 2021 7:54 pm

I watched everything through Juliet of the Spirits minus the commentaries. A few observations... so far loving this set...

Juliet of the Spirits looks and sounds fabulous. It makes me appreciate the film even more. For me a top 5 Fellini.
8 1/5 photo gallery had a pic of Sophia Loren visiting the set. It's quite surprising to me that she never made a film with Fellini.
One of my favorite supplements was the Nino Rota doc. on the 8 1/2 disc.
My first viewing of Toby Dammit, wow. The most surreal, nightmarish film to this point (I've only seen Amarcord and City of Women previously).

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Re: Essential Fellini

#287 Post by omegadirective » Sun May 16, 2021 8:20 pm

I wish that Criterion was able to just release complete filmographies for Fellini and Bergman like they did for Varga and Tati.
Like, I want to buy these, but I would rather spend a bit more t8 get the rest of the films.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Essential Fellini

#288 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun May 16, 2021 11:08 pm

The set is worth it at half price just to get to see Juliet of the Spirits on blu. I watched it three times within my first six weeks with the set, and had already seen it at least twice before that. That and La dolce vita should be on everyone's 60s list. Glad you enjoyed it Frau!

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#289 Post by MichaelB » Mon May 17, 2021 6:15 am

omegadirective wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 8:20 pm
I wish that Criterion was able to just release complete filmographies for Fellini and Bergman like they did for Varga and Tati.
Like, I want to buy these, but I would rather spend a bit more t8 get the rest of the films.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, this is hopelessly wishful thinking. Filmmakers who either work with the same production company or for such a small number that they can be persuaded to agree rights splits on projects like this are vanishingly rare, especially if they became renowned enough to end up being handled by major Hollywood studios (as was the case with Fellini and Bergman, but not Varda and Tati). The few box sets that really are largely comprehensive, like the Potemkine Eric Rohmer set, take advantage of the fact that Rohmer really did control virtually all his own work (at least in his native France), but this is so wildly unusual that I imagine such cases make up less than one per cent of the total.

I've overseen large-scale box sets, and of course I always start out by planning to include absolutely everything, only for realism to kick in at a pretty early stage. The most annoying was having to leave The Masque of the Red Death out of Arrow's Roger Corman/Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe box, which ended up being called Six Gothic Tales to avoid suggesting completism - but for historical co-production reasons it was with a different rightsholder in the UK than the others, and StudioCanal wasn't prepared to let us have it even for a strictly limited-edition box set. And there's absolutely nothing you can do about a situation like that, any more than I imagine Criterion could do anything about the Paramount-owned Face to Face or the Fox-owned Casanova.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Essential Fellini

#290 Post by FrauBlucher » Mon May 17, 2021 6:47 am

The one that surprised me was Criterion and Cohen not striking a deal for City of Women to be included in the set. If they did have discussions I would love hearing the backstory.

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#291 Post by MichaelB » Mon May 17, 2021 7:27 am

Another issue is when you're collaborating directly with the filmmaker(s) and they explicitly don't want something included. If they control the rights, that's that - although I did manage to talk the Quay Brothers into letting me include their first professional short Nocturna Artificialia in the BFI release. They knew that the BFI owned it outright so they wouldn't be able to stop me, but we agreed (a) that it would be tucked away in the extras instead of being allowed to pollute the others on disc one, and (b) that no matter what they said about it in the interview that was filmed for the same release, I promised not to cut it. They duly slagged it off in no uncertain terms, I left in every word, and everyone was happy.

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Re: Essential Fellini

#292 Post by omegadirective » Mon May 17, 2021 11:45 am

Thanks for the information MichaelB

If wishes were horses than we would all have complete box sets, I guess!

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MichaelB
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Re: Essential Fellini

#293 Post by MichaelB » Mon May 17, 2021 11:59 am

Another huge box set gracing my shelves is the 36-disc Andrzej Wajda one produced in Poland about five years ago, which is really impressively wide-ranging and covers the vast majority of his output from his debut A Generation in 1954 to his swansong Afterimage in 2016 - but there are unavoidable gaps, such as his flirtations with international co-productions in the 1960s (Samson, Siberian Lady Macbeth, Gates of Heaven) and 1980s (A Love in Germany, The Possessed) and much of the notoriously troubled 1990s era is MIA pretty much anywhere (The Crowned-Eagle Ring, Nastasja, Holy Week, Miss Nobody) - and it also left out a fair chunk of his television output, including a fascinating-sounding historical miniseries from 1980).

When a filmography reaches a certain size, it's most likely going to be too sprawlingly diverse in terms of rightsholders for it to be a realistic prospect to include every single thing. What's especially frustrating is if you get most of the way there but have to stop just short of your target. I've only once legitimately been able to include the word "complete" on one of my own decades-spanning projects as producer (the BFI's Jan Švankmajer: The Complete Short Films, way back in 2007 - and even then it was touch and go whether we'd get all 26 or would have to stop short at 23 like its US counterpart).

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FrauBlucher
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Re: Essential Fellini

#294 Post by FrauBlucher » Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:38 pm

Last night I watched And the Ship Sails On. There is always a singular scene in each of his films that makes me realize just how brilliant Fellini's imagination was. In the aforementioned film the scene in the boiler room in which the singers are escorted into the boiler room and are looking down at the workers and are asked to sing for them in which they hesitantly do

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Jean-Luc Garbo
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Re: Essential Fellini

#295 Post by Jean-Luc Garbo » Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:51 am

I'm having the same experience as well as I slowly make my way through this set. Like in Il bidone which I watched soon after I vitelloni where I'd expect it to end in a way similar to the latter only to find what I think is Fellini's most brutal ending. That really, really surprised me but stuck with me as I think it really underlined its difference from I vitelloni. Very much to the extent when I watched La dolce vita next that the epiphany which comes too late to make any changes in Il bidone contrasted so strongly to Marcello's very unconcerned realization that he can't bother to understand. It's been years since I watched any Fellini so seeing Il bidone and La dolce vita really struck me by what I've found so achingly human in his films at this time.

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