Customer Review

6 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pantomine has more artistic merit than this!, 25 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Juliet Of The Spirits [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
I don't know what it is about classic Italian film-makers, but they only seem able to make one classic film each: De Sica's The Bicycle Thieves; Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers; and Rossellini's Rome Open City, to name just three. Fellini is a case in point. La Dolce Vita is a truly beautiful and stylish film, but everything else he has done has left me cold, and that includes the hopelessly over-rated 8 ½.

Juliet of the Spirits is about a woman, played by Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina, who is on the brink of being abandoned by her husband. Her life is empty outside of being the wife of her husband, so the effect on her is traumatic and she experiences a slow mental breakdown.

Material like this would be grist to the mill for a director with subtlety and flair, and while Fellini is no slouch in providing flair, subtetly escapes him completely. He shows her breakdown through flashbacks to her childhood, which are done quite well, and visions, which are handled with all the kack-handedness of a reluctant primary school teacher who has been ordered by the headmaster to direct the school Nativity play. A good example of this is when she imagines a group of nuns swarming into her room like a flock of geese. (Heaven alone knows what this is suppose to represent. Catholic guilt, maybe? ) The scene should have a nightmarish quality about it, creepy and unnerving. Instead, it looks like what it is - a cast of extras marching on to the set on cue. Fellini fails to convince that we are witnessing a mental breakdown through the eyes of the victim. What we really experience is Fellini's inability to understand the potential of cinema. I know this is probably sacrilege in some circles, but that is what I thought as I watched this. Giulietta Masina carries off her part with a quiet dignity, but even she cannot save this film. Everyone who hates art house movies probably thinks they are all like this. Sadly, some are.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 May 2008 08:41:26 BDT
PK says:
If 8 1/2 left you cold, would it be fair to say that some of its subtleties escaped you?

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2008 13:52:28 BDT
Penguin Egg says:
No. It just left me cold.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Nov 2008 00:11:47 GMT
D. Fagan says:
Sorry,...but you are wrong......8 ½ is a masterpiece......and as for De Sica...Umberto D is also pretty high quality IMHO......your opinion is valid...but wrong.

Posted on 22 Aug 2009 15:52:48 BDT
you make a fair point about them only having one classic film, although i think alot of the films aren't accessible.

have you seen La Strada or Nights of Cabiria? Both absolutely wonderful fellini films and in my opinion better than dolce vita. Check them out if you haven't already, they are alot more accessible than his other stuff

Posted on 28 Aug 2009 19:45:03 BDT
The very idea that each director who formed the pantheon of Italian filmmakers were only responsible for one great film each invites criticism for your ineptitude and your obtuse pseudo critical vomiting and certainly not for the plentiful works of creative genius that men like Rossellini and Fellini were indisputably responsible for. As if a lack of understanding for the true potential of cinema was Fellini's, and not patently yours. What boundless folly. Oh and by the way it is impossible to criticise the entire output of Rossellini for only having one good film as most of his films are unavailable on any region and format.

Posted on 5 May 2011 16:02:20 BDT
Fellini 's La Strada is, in my view, a greater work than La Dolce Vita, as is 81/2; and"FRANCIS JESTER OF GOD" is Rossellini's true masterpiece . Penguin Egg fails even to mention perhaps the most consistent of all these giants , Visconti , or the most astonishing, Pasolini - each of them adding at least 5 wonderful films to the miraculous achievement of Italian Cinema, and each giving the lie to that silly general statement .There is something disconcerting , however , about the falling -off of the later work of Fellini - though I find Giuletta still very poignant ..... TIMOTHY HYMAN

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jun 2011 23:09:44 BDT
D. Fagan, in what world can "your opinion is valid...but wrong" ever exist? If it's wrong, it isn't valid. And if it's valid, it can't be wrong.

Posted on 26 Jul 2011 14:58:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jul 2011 13:42:54 BDT
Buddy says:
What about the charming I Vitelloni?, Amarcord? and Roma?, Eggy Weggy.Try watching 8 1/2 with an artist's eye its a very cerebral, technical film, with little emotional resonance. Its a work of genius.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2011 09:47:52 BDT
C McGhee says:
Timothy Hyman-

great point on Visconti, my favorite,

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Aug 2011 09:59:31 BDT
C McGhee says:
Chancery Stone-

An opinion can be both valid & wrong in movie reviewing. This isn't law. If I review a movie & correctly point out it's weak elements thereby concluding it's not a good show then my review is valid. Another may well point out the strong points & conclude it is a good movie. That would also be valid. Not all people react in the same manner to a theatrical presentation. If we did there would be no movie reviewing being done today. What a boring world you must live in. Only one view allowed?

Why do you suppose there is more than one rating to chose from? "If" you can find me a movie rated by over 100 people all rating it the same as to quality with nobody else disagreeing, I will buy into your view point. I hope you're a lawyer, it explains your misunderstanding the meaning of the word valid in this case.
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