13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2008
This flamboyant film may be the most "felliniesque" of them all. In a partly autobiographical story, Giulietta (Fellinis real life wife, Giluetta Masina) reacts to her husbands adultery by entering a surreal dreamworld. Guided by spirits she struggles to cope with visions of beauty, lust, childhood images and the fear of God.
There are so many striking images in this film as it moves enchantingly forward accompanied by Nino Rota's music. It has the poignancy and thoughtfulness of 8 1/2 and the off-beat atmosphere of Satyricon. A must see for any Fellini fan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Masterpiece, quintessential...mmmm...very beautifully composed brimming with those avant garde surrealist scenes bubbling over which mark Fellini as belonging to his own oeuvre; the realm of the over ripe sensual. However absent is any plot tension; shattering the psyche as a true fragmentation occurs when someone undergoes a nervous breakdown.
Instead the viewer is handed Fellini's version, far different than someone retreating rapidly from social reality and staying there. It looked as if her break away from reality was preferable to the mundane life of being super rich, bored and wholly dependent on one man for emotional succor.
What Fellini does, is begin to explore the impact of childhood memories upon the present and for this he is prescient, probably only Hitchcock's Marnie at the time did likewise, except with much more angst.
This depiction exceeds in sumptuousness and artistic vision. Each scene is composed with the eye of a renaissance oil painter, a film of scenes, as it hits the retina and plays to the Dionysian hilt. Quite why Guiletta is so devastated is somewhat hard to understand, as she appears a frump compared to the sensuality which coasts around her, and perhaps it is a film about aging, except her mother appears more sensual than her daughter. She cannot engage in the sensual life due to the blockages put in place by a religious upbringing. But it appears to have had no effect upon her mother.
Not an engaging film, for me at least, but highly artistic and contains numerous stills and shots which are jaw dropping in their execution, the interior design, costume and light along with composition of nature puts anything else except the Japanese into somber hues- its just the plot meandered into meaningless, which perhaps is the ultimate statement of the Director of the style of life.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Incredibly beautiful this film is, Fellini's first use of colour results in some of the best use of it ever committed to celluloid. With striking design and chic outfits to die for. Unbelievable hats. A witty and playful score, full of 60's European eccentricity.
Many scenes are wonderfully conceived and made. Much is sexy - and fun. Fellini himself described "Guiletta of the Spirits" as a 'fairy tale for adults'.
However, all of it is one long (I mean over-long long), narrative-free zone, a mishmash of supposedly Guilletta Masina's (Fellini's wife and long standing lead in many of his films) dreams and fantasies.
She, as the overlooked wife of husband, played by Mario Pisu, who incidentally played Fellini in the previous film, the autobiographical 8 and a half, finds herself bored, becoming frumpy and unloved. Her friends are younger, sexually active and liberated and she, naturally is envious and frustrated.
The actual events of Guilletta's life and her friendship get ever more blurred into fantasy and as the film progresses, this turns into either a self-indulgent slurry of incomprehensible images or dreams of utter beauty and imagination, depending on where your viewpoint stands - and indeed, where the film veers you.
The thoughts and fantasies aren't all pleasant and dreamy; paranoid delusions appearing and telling her (the "Spirits" of the title, perhaps) that her husband is cheating on her and that her comfortable life is no longer quite so. Guilletta's acting in previous films had been outstanding, making them unforgettable and truly great. I'm not saying her acting skills are diminished in this, just that it's swamped by all the over-the-top sets and scenes that focus on the fantasy and not her.
This viewing was my second and I was fairly determined to follow it and fathom what it all meant. No chance! Let it slip by and enjoy and appreciate the bits you like best. It's also a fairly common belief that the fantasies are Fellini's own and he used this vehicle as an outlet for them. Maybe, after inundating us so successfully and brilliantly in 8 and a half with his own inadequacies, feelings and complexes, found he had yet more that he simply had to get out of his system.
Whatever was going through this genius of a director at the time, the film is a must for Fellini fans. For anybody else and especially those who haven't seen the likes of Il Bidone, La Strada, La Dolce Vita and Nights of Cabiria, watch them first. Then you might have a chance to understand - and follow, this master finally losing it. He does so brilliantly but brilliance without substance can get wearying after a while. Practically any other director doing the same would result in a total dud.
In my view, a very flawed masterpiece. A contradiction in terms? Well, it is Federico Fellini we're talking about!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2015
One of the most fascinating, mysterious and complex Fellini's film. A vision of his wife and their relationship through a tale of betrayal, magic, superstition, erotism and intimacy.
The film is like a dream, not just in what happenes but in the way that Fellini shows it, so that both everyday details and more explicit dream-sequence are all quite disorienting, criptical, unsettling: they resemble reality but you feel they are not.
There are a lot of references and hints to magic and kabala, esoterism and other stuff. i am not an expert but Fellini was, so if any of you has a knowledge of that, this could be fun to watch it.
I did not fully get all the stuff put into this film, but I was amazed by the incredible imaginative power of Fellini, that is not a matter of bizarre solution, but a matter of projecting the most personal and not-linear thought and sensation on a screen. Just like he did in 8 1/2 or in some sequences of all his movies, while still resulting magnetic and mesmerizing. Not like many others after him, who were just confused and weird just for the sake of it. I'm desperately waiting for the blu ray to come out
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2001
I first saw this as a re-release in the cinema last year, and fell in love with it from that moment. It is a deeply moving and profound film which traces the abandonment of Giulietta by her husband and her search for a new meaning in life. Giulietta Masina (Fellini's off-screen wife) is magnificent, with great subtlety and humanity. Fellini's amazing imagination is at its best and one is instantly struck by the vivid colours and images used as ghosts from the past and present come to haunt Giulietta - as the barrier between reality and dreams is slowly broken.
on 3 January 2013
This film is amazing. I watched and became fascinated with 8 1/2 ,and thought if he could make a colour film,it'd be amazing! I was not disappointed by the colour of juliet of the spirits! I heard he used LSD between making 8 1/2 and finishing this film, and it shows through his colour and imagery. Niño rotas musics great also. This surreal film can be both brilliantly happy , but very unsettling. It's happy, stupid even, but serious in its silliness.
Her friends and neighbours are extravagant and modern 1960s characters with optimistic ideas of fashion, spirituality etc. It's beautiful really. But not all of it is so surreal; the story of her husbands affair makes perfect sense. Her new neighbours storyline makes some sense. There's actually quite a lot going on but it's all so simply and beautifully presented that it doesn't seem a complex film at all- yet it is.
I have even watched his film without subtitles and enjoyed it. It can be taken lightly if preferred, or intensely, as you can get seriously into juliets breakdown.
However I'm not sure whether it's everyone's cup of tea. It's very 1960s, surreal, arty, spiritual/deals with mental illness, flamboyant, anti-catholism, has much circus music, and is very Italian. I see those points as positive but who knows?
It's also proves that fellinis onky one masterpiece that IS eight and a half, and that IS La Dolce Vita, IS also Juliet of the Spirits. It could be seen as a kind of feminine version of 8 1/2.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2013
this specific release is 127 only minutes , it lacks the first 10 minutes of the film. The full film length is 137 minutes.,
check it out !!!!
get the full version. Fellini deserves it!!!!
I have rated this film 5 stars, but it deserves a lot more stars when its being seen in its entire full length!!!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2008
Juliet lives in a beautiful house by the ocean. Her sisters, and especially her Mother overshadow her with their beauty. She is a spiritual, superstious and naive woman. She visits a psychic seer who tells her she must follow the sex trade in order to be happy. Not long after she meets her eccentric and sexy neighbour, Suzy, who, by all counts appears to be a high class prostitute and encourages Juilet into sexual acts which make her guilty and nervous. A rare night when her husband is at home she wakes up to catch him talking to another woman on the phone. He calls out the name "Gabriella" while sleeping, but when she questions him he lies his way out of it. She finds out who Gabriella is and fears her husband will leave her. Juliet begins having visions who accuse and terrorise her. The pinnacle of the visions comes at the end where it is implied she realises she would be better off without her husband and is ultimately emotionally emancipated
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I sat down to watch this film wondering if it was as good as I recall it being (I saw it about 10 times in the theatre), or if my memories would be based on little more than nostalgia. Well, from the moment I heard the crickets chirping as the camera focused on the jewel box of a white house in its forest of umbrella pines, I was mesmerised from beginning to end. I was particularly thrilled with the sharpness of the transfer; the phantasmagoric images blazed in jewel tones as I played this DVD on the fancy-shmancy Blu-Ray player that my son had given me for Christmas.
Giulietta Massina's performance is both restrained and effortless. With a mere glance of her eyes, she conveys a wealth of inner emotions, disappointment, embarrassment, distress, anger, wonder. We are experiencing--from her character's point of view--the sense of rejection she has suffered both as a lonely child, and as an even lonelier wife, as she copes with the glib evasions of her handsome philandering husband. The overblown couture of her ice-cold mother and superficial sisters as well as the outrageously sexualised fashions of her glamorous neighbour are projections of what she perceives as her own modest insignificance, although, at the same time, her own dressing in vivid reds and greens indicate that she feels that the eyes of others are always upon her.
As much as I enjoyed watching the film after so many years, I did notice that some of my favourite bits were missing. Some of these are minor, as when Giulietta, driving home from the psychic reading of the androgynous Bishma, becomes hypnotised by the broken lines on the road which seem to be moving while the car seems to be standing still (Her friends have fallen into a deep sleep.). Others, however, were really disappointing, as when the child Giulietta recalls playing the part of a Saint in the nun's school play and being hoisted up on her fiery grill towards the window of God. The unforgettable visions of the weeping statues, who were dripping with melted candle wax tears, had--inexplicably--been cut in this version.
Some of my favourite images: Giulietta and her maids stringing red and green peppers for the winter (I took up the practice after seeing the film the first time); the Roman umbrella pines (I think some scenes were shot in the Pineta--the pine grove--of the Villa Doria Pamphili); the rose trees covered in plastic sheets after her marriage disintegrates, and of course, the weeping wax-covered statues, which are, except for one peep, no longer there. (I suppose I'm now going to have to find whether there's an uncut version.).
Despite the flaws, I'm giving the film five stars, as it still held me spellbound from beginning to end.
on 31 July 2014
I love this film! Always have from when I first saw it !