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ROMA (Masters of Cinema) (Blu-ray)
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SYNOPSIS: One of the maestro Federico Fellini's greatest '70s works (between Satyricon and The Clowns and Amarcord), Roma [Rome] erupts volcanically as a state-of-the-world pronouncement on what was not only happening within Rome at the tide of the hippies' organic birth and the post-Boom-set that made up his characters of the 1960s films, but also where, and how, his city would move feverishly forward into one of potential futures.
As Fellini himself travels with his crew to document the ring-road circling Rome, with all the natural diversions that might inherently divert a traditional film shoot, we move into episodes that chart the wartime difficulties of Roman life across those fleeting times that chronicle love and life within the modern-day Rome-time, themselves pitted against the archaelogical vestiges of the great city, - and the Catholic church rears its dominance, and we come into a midpoint that positions itself, indeed, between the memory-cinema of Satyricon and Amarcord.
One of the great and bountiful colour-spectacles of Fellini's cinema, almost leapt off toward from the moment of Giulietta of the Spirits, Fellini's Roma remains a passionate testament both to the city that finally claimed him as its son after he left small Rimini, and to the final stage of cinema that he himself would work till the day he died. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Fellini's Roma in a Blu-ray edition for the first time in the UK.
- New high-definition 1080p presentation
- New and improved optional English subtitles
- Original Italian audio track, and alternate English audio track
- Music and effects track
- Video piece with Italian studies scholar Chris Wagstaff
- Deleted scenes
- Italian and international trailers for the film
- 32-PAGE FULL-COLOUR BOOKLET featuring a new essay by critic and scholar Pasquale Iannone, and rare archival imagery
Federico Fellini's 1972 ode to the city of Rome is far from a coherent narrative, but as a selection of images and sounds celebrating the famed Italian capital, it's dazzling and hugely enjoyable. Stylistically, it's a perfect bridge between the excesses of Satyricon and the nostalgia of Amarcord, and it showcases the true love that Fellini had for the Eternal City. Mixing autobiographical flashbacks with the travails of a present-day movie company making a film about the city (headed up by Fellini himself), Roma is an impressionistic tour de force, delivered via Fellini's unique cinematic vision. If you can't tolerate Fellini's larger-than-life approach, the sometimes-garish colours, or the circus atmosphere, you'll probably find Roma insufferable. But fans of Fellini will be in seventh heaven, especially during some of the wonderful set pieces--a music dance hall performance that's interrupted by bombing during World War II; a papal fashion show that's so surreal it must be seen to be believed; and a breathtaking sequence in which the film crew, tagging along with an archaeological dig, happens upon an ancient Roman catacomb and watches as the beautiful murals disintegrate before their eyes. Through it all, Fellini's passion for Rome (and moviemaking) shines through, especially in the film's climax, a dialogue-free sequence of motorcycles roaring through the city at night, a tour that ends at the magnificent Colosseum. At that marriage of past and present, Roma is about as perfect as cinema can get. --Mark Englehart --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Be sure to watch this sensuous treat with a good red wine!
Peter Gonzales Falcon plays the young filmmaker making his move from the Rimini of his childhood to the country's capital but this storyline is quickly sidelined as Fellini himself returns to the city to make a film that includes guest appearances from the likes of Gore Vidal and Anna Magnani in her final performance.
The incomparable director creates a truly unique montage of imagery that manages to invoke every emotion as it spirals into the absurd for a unique look at the seedy nooks and crannies of the oft-filmed but rarely captured city than can of done little to please the tourist board but is a true work of cinematic art.
On to Rome!
Story and screenplay by Federico Fellini and Bernardino Zapponi, stars Peter Gonzales.
Music by Nino Rota and Carlo Savina, cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno, editing by Ruggero Mastroianni. In Fellini film sequence between I clowns and Amarcord. The film was screened at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn't entered into the main competition. The film was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 45th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
Also known as Fellini's Roma, the film centers on two journeys to Rome by the director. The first is as a young man in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The second is as the director of a film crew creating a movie about Rome. The film alternates these two narratives. The plot is minimal, and the only character to develop significantly is Rome herself. Peter Gonzales plays the young Fellini, and the film features mainly unknowns in the cast. Fellini repeatedly contrasts Roman life in wartime Fascist Italy with its counterpart in the early 1970s.
The wartime scenes emphasise the congregation of neighbors in Rome's public places such as street restaurants, a variety show, and a bomb shelter. With the exception of hippies and a conversational scene with Fellini bemoaning the loss of Roman life with radical students, the analogous congregations of the 1970s are between automobiles and motorcycles. Fellini makes a comparison between the parade of prostitutes at wartime brothels and a fantasy runway fashion show featuring clerical garb and a papal audience.
A succession of Fellini fiests, not only culinary: The liturgic fashion catwalk episode takes the prize, equivalent to the first Catholic western in his Toby Dammit!
170 - Roma (Federico Fellini, 1972, 119') - 21/9/2012
Many have criticised the film (as well as others from the same era, particularly Juliet of the Spirits, Satyricon, Fellini-Casanova and The City of Women) as being trivial, meandering and self-indulgent, all of which are true, but certainly the element of indulgence and theatrical abstraction (as well as a penchant for the outrageous and arcane) was always part of Fellini's appeal. Here, the previous hints of free-form abstraction, is taken further, with all semblance of story removed, so the film, unlike his previous two films Juliet of the Spirits and Satyricon, which were abstract and sprawling but still had a sense of character and plot, Roma instead, wanders along from one scene to the next, with no real focus on character (although there are many faces that reoccur throughout) and nothing in the way of narrative momentum. Now, this will undoubtedly be a problem for some viewers who require a sense of pace or meaning to their films, though, for those of us still interested in what Fellini has to offer, regardless of content (or lack, thereof), it is perhaps best to think of the film as a collection of scenes to dip in and out of at random.
As was the case with many later-Fellini, the film has a number of intoxicating set pieces scattered sporadically throughout, amongst the most impressive being an epic fashion show replete with the trademark Fellini grotesques, social and political commentaries and a fair bit of sniping, sycophantic star-worship. Other standouts, with the film traversing a number of different time periods, include a reconstruction of Rome during the reign of Mussolini, a heated traffic jam on the autostrada and a lengthy documentary-like scene following a group of archaeologists searching through Rome's labyrinth of subway systems. There are a variety of other set pieces scattered throughout the film that probably warrant some sort of mention, but they just didn't resonate with me as highly as they have with certain other viewers.
However, that's one of the great things about Fellini-Roma, with the director stringing together a series of impressionist sketches that will no doubt conjure different moods and emotions in whoever watches the film. As was apparent right from the start with Fellini, was his ability to evoke a certain time and place through his images, set-construction, sound-design, and overall iconography... and that's certainly evident here. Of course, like all of the director's work from this period, the film won't be to all tastes, with many no doubt despairing of the filmmaker's seeming indulgence, pretension and wanton disregard of character and narrative. However, if you treat the film more like an episodic tapestry (or travelogue) to dip in and out of, then you're sure to get a lot out of Fellini's majestic, carefully orchestrated imagery, bizarre cavalcade of clowns, freaks, geeks and weirdoes (not to mention the usual barrage of buxom ladies), and a collection of cameos and in-jokes from a variety of Fellini regulars.
For my money, this film isn't quite as essential as 8 ½, Amarcord, La Dolce Vita or ...And the Ship Sails on, though it does rank alongside the sentimental La Strada and the similarly episodic Night of Cabiria (I'm not sure whether or not I prefer Casanova over this... I'd have to see both films again) and is much better than the free-form bombardment of Juliet of the Spirits, Satyricon and The City of Women (in my opinion, at least). Regardless of the comparisons to his previous films, Fellini-Roma is still an enchanting film with some astounding moments of visual spectacle to compensate for the overall lack of plot. Probably a worthwhile purchase for die-hard Fellini fans, though those new to the director's work would be better off starting elsewhere.
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