Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Sergio Rubini, Antonella Ponziani, Maurizio Mein, Paola Liguori, Lara Wendel
Director: Federico Fellini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Federico Fellini welcomes us into his world of filmmaking with a mockumentary about his life in film, as a Japanese film crew follows him around.
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The conjuror's illusion
Phillip Kay | Sydney | 11/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many viewers and critics are ambivalent about Fellini's films. You hear "unstructured", "self-indulgent", "egotistic" until you imagine the reproach is that Fellini didn't have more shoot-out and car chase scenes. So let me state my bias: I think he is important in film, comparable to figures like Picasso or Kafka in other media. Further, the films I like the most are "La Strada" (1954), "Fellini's Casanova" (1976), "Intervista" (1987) and "Fellini Satyricon" (1969) ie I don't believe, as some have it, that he created some good films near the start of his career, then fell into a 30 year decline.
Intervista is an homage: to film, to Cinecitta, to Fellini cast and crew. In it Fellini richly draws on his memories, dreams and emotions, as often before. Egotistic? What else do any of us have to draw on? It is also laced with a spicy humor based on Fellini's eye for the absurd in people, places and situations which is basic to his work and often overlooked.
The film tells three stories. In the first, Cinecitta in the 40s when the young reporter Fellini first arrived there, to interview an actor; in the second, the heyday of Fellini's career, the 60s, when La Dolce Vita launched him, stars such as Marcello Mastroianni and Italian cinema itself on a triumphant and influential trajectory around the world; in the third Fellini shows us what it is like to make a film now (the 80s) when one is a celebrity, under the burden of expectations from cast and crew members and the public, represented by a Japanese TV crew trying to interview him.
The film is structured as films within film. The young Fellini's first visit to Cinecitta is itself a film, taking place on another lot, while Fellini is busy making a version of Kafka's Amerika. Memory, he seems to suggest, comes from the same source as imagination. We invent our past as much as we imagine our future: both intermingle to produce our present. This structure enables Fellini to switch backwards and forwards between the various periods represented in the film, the same way our minds work.
In another, famous, scene, Fellini shows Anita Ekberg and Mastroianni watching their younger selves perform in La Dolce Vita. Both are affected, Ekberg to tears. What do they regret: the passing of time, the passing of fame? Or has Fellini made them see the precarious border between illusion and reality, that beauty and fame are a strip of celluloid with light shining through it?
Cast and crew have a lot of screen time. This is one of the greatest films about film making, surpassing even Truffaut's La Nuit Americaine, Day for Night. All seem solicitous for the "Maestro". "If he gets sick, we don't work" says someone. Funny scenes abound as a line of hopeful would be actors claiming to have 'Fellini faces' vie for parts. This was a man whose habits and work methods were known to many Italians, not just to film workers. And the more famous Fellini got, the more power he had on the lot, until he carried and cared for over a hundred people, all dependent on him, as he strove to make another Fellini masterpiece under the expectant eye of film journalists. How unlikely a situation to inspire creative ideas is that?
Fellini was a painter with light who explored deep in his subconscious and returned with mythic images that can evoke a powerful response in us: if we let them. We can always refuse, and say he is self-indulgent, just as Picasso is confusing, Kafka obscure. We can ignore him another way, by saying he is 'great', a kind of dismissal. Fellini was a warm, caring person who loved and was loved by his colleagues as well as a charismatic, visionary one who inspired them. In Intervista we get to see both these sides of the man. Interview, some ask? He hasn't said anything, hasn't told us any facts. But he's shown us how he makes a film: and he's told us all we need to know. In fact Fellini is not to be trusted when he tells facts. Intervista is not a film, he says, as earlier, Casanova was just a film he had to make for contractural obligations. Rather, pay attention to what he shows, even to the way a papier mache elephant falls over.
Vincenzo Mollica's part documentary, part compilation of interviews about Fellini is one of the best features on Fellini I've seen, and nicely rounds out the DVD."
A friendly chat
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 04/30/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Federico Fellini broke through all the walls he could find in 1987's delightfully jumbled "Intervista." The maestro created a film about a film about a film.
There is, not surprisingly, a film about all those films, the Italian documentary "The Man From Rimini," included on the "Intervista" DVD. The leisurely docu runs an hour, subtitled.
"I don't really consider ('Intervista') a movie," Fellini tells the press as he hits the festival circuit. "It is a friendly chat among close friends."
Those friends are his collaborators at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, whose 50th anniversary inspired "Intervista." Fellini's film is a mockumentary of sorts, in which a Japanese TV crew arrives on the lot to interview the director, who tells them of his first visit to the studio as a young journalist. Fellini, meanwhile, is supposedly adapting Franz Kafka's "Amerika," rounding up the usual surreal suspects for his cast and riding out the production's craziness.
Fellini notes there is "no subject and no screenplay" -- "Intervista" is "a movie made in total freedom." That may explain the Native Americans on horseback who attack his Italian crew, wielding TV antennas as spears.
The movie is best known for its scene with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, sentimentally reunited to watch the Trevi Fountain scene from 1960's "La Dolce Vita." (Ekberg says Mastroianni didn't have much time for her on the "Intervista" set.)
Images are widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 screens. The transfer looks good, with true flesh tones despite some grain. The "5.1 surround audio" stays front center in surround mode. There is a long annoying stretch in which the sound suffers from a persistent popping sound."
The good life
bill cannon | palacios, texas USA | 12/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"for fans of "la dolce vita" this is a must -- a wonderful look forward -- its a reminder to live life to its fullest"
Ride the Fellini-go-round
Michael Osborn | Seattle, WA USA | 04/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Intervista (Interview) 1987
This is a misunderstood film. Fellini tried something new with this picture. At the time of its release, all across Europe it was heralded as a masterpiece, which I think it certainly is. American audiences didn't quite `get it' for the same reason that U.S. audiences don't enjoy non-linear, abstract music like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry, or Iannis Xenakis. (sound effects as music)
`Intervista' is a cavalcadesque montage of moments and so one can conceivably start watching it anywhere and even walk away and miss some of it without losing any of it's intended effect. Fellini himself said that it was a movie made in total freedom and had no subject and no screenplay, like a party you can go to and have a good time without any need or capability of hearing every word of every conversation there. It is certainly nothing like 8 1/2 or any of his other films since there really isn't any plot per se. As my other half and I watched it I was enjoying the concept of theater as atmosphere but she couldn't take it any more and walked out.
In the DVD extras are two interesting items. First is a short called `On the Set' which is a photomontage of stills from the set (including a shot of David Lynch and Isabella Rosalini - An Inland Empire moment of inception?) and at the end, a clip of Fellini talking about the film. Second is an hour long interview by Vincenzo Mollica with Fellini talking about the film called, `Intervista per "Intervista" di Federico Fellini.' (An interview for `Interview' by Fellini). I watched this after I saw the film and it was fascinating for several reasons, not the least of which was the discussion of an underlying plot (despite the fact that Fellini denied the existence of one) of the journalist character playing a young version of himself as a young man visiting the Cinecitta Studios (Italian equivalent of Hollywood) to get an interview with a famous star. I recomend watching this documentary first as it is filled with many insights into the world of `Intervista' making it a fuller and more Felliniesque experience if that's possible."