"Although most Fellini fans will point to his "8 1/2" as their favorite of his films, I think that "City Of Women" is just a little bit better. They are both 5s though so I may be splitting hairs! Marcello Mastrioanni plays Fellini's alter ego in both films. In "8 1/2" we see him as a film director surrounded by his usual coterie of Picasso-like faces. He is also contending with his problems as a womanizer as they continue to come in and go out of his life. "City Of Women" goes much further though. It shows that the primary fascination Fellini has with women is bonding to their sex. He clearly is much more attracted to the nature of woman than the nature of man. He revels in their intuitive and instinctual side and the fecund, earth mother basis. Certainly the large part of him that exists as an artist is wholly situated in the sphere inhabited by the female sex. "City of Women" is a surreal, dream-like evocation of this world and Fellini's draw to it. He is, of course, shut out from it though because he is of the male sex and the closest he was ever enfolded within it was when he was a child and mothered there. This was not the huge hit in the USA that "8 1/2" was which is a shame but now you have the chance to make up for its too brief theatrical release in the USA shortly after it was released in 1980. This film was shot in glorious, surreal colors."
Not Fellini's best, but not his worst
Scott Richardson | Chicago, IL USA | 01/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, I have to say that I am a fan of late-period Fellini. If you prefer his earlier work (pre-Juliet of the Spirits), you may not like his later, more indulgent work.City of Women is about women, specifically feminists. Women were always one of Fellini's favorite topics, and this film is his attempt to understand the various (often contradictory) aspects of the feminist movement (or movements). As such it's rambling, with no real center or plot to speak of. Marcello Mastroianni (Fellini's favorite alter-ego) plays womanizer Snaporaz, who, upon following a woman off of a train, winds up in the midst of a kind of feminist convention. After roller-skating down some stairs and bumming a ride with a nymphomaniac and some junkies young enough to be his granddaughters, he winds up in a kind of temple to womanizing. It's a strange film.This film doesn't approach the experimental or lyrical depths of its successor, And The Ship Sails On, but in my opinion it's superior to its predecessor, Orchestra Rehearsal.The DVD has a decent transfer and a few extras: a brief interview with Fellini (always a treat) and a featurette containing interviews with some Fellini associates and scholars. A decent DVD of a decent film."
What a wonderful dream!
bowery boy | seattle | 11/29/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"City of Women is typical late Fellini fare, full of surrealism, elaborate sets, beautiful colors, gorgeous women and the bare bones of plot and linear structure. We have Marcello Mastroianni (of course) as lothario Snaporaz. After unsuccessfully seducing a woman on a train, he follows her to a hotel in the middle of a forest where a feminist convention is taking place. From that point on, Snaporaz finds himself in one compromising adventure after another. He is tormented by women on roller skates, accosted by a nymphomaniac, chased down by drugged up teenagers and eventually seeks refuge in the castle-like fortress of Dr. Uberkock who is having a party in celebration of his 10,000th sexual conquest.
The women appear lovely and harmless at first until little things set them off with Snaporaz always the target of their aggression. Fellini even goes so far as having many of the women in different scenes growl and grunt in an animalistic manner whether it's sexual or aggressive.
My favorite scene involves the junkie nymphet delinquents. Its plays out like an elaborate 80s music video or a scene from an Argento horror flick. I can't get enough of that great Italian disco track that they play during their joyride.
Fellini's films are pure eye candy, absolute viewing experiences with all sense of cohesion thrown to the wind. City Of Women is no exception. Although it does not always reflect women in a positive light, City of Women truly is a wonderful film and a testament to an absolutely brilliant filmmaker. Fully immerse yourself in this opulent, indulgent film extravaganza and prepare to be mesmerized. "
Surreal Fellini Masterpiece
Steve Arthur | Winslow, AZ USA | 05/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"City of Women is a wonderful surreal film. The film itself plays very much like a dream. Each scene falls into the next with no logical purpose, but, like a dream, it does seem to make sense. There is a confusion about the role of feminism and the militant women in them, but it really isn't enough to stop the enjoyment. The visuals are fabulous, as you would expect in a Fellini film, and the music soundtrack seems to be rifs on the opening theme of the song "Mona Lisa." The DVD is impressive as well. The quality of this late 70s film is as good as can be expected, but to see it in widescreen is amazing. The documentaries that accompany the movie are fascinating, if very humorous. In the 20 minute documentary, two film historians and one director (Paul Mazursky) cannot agree on the most important moment in the film, and it is different from the Fellini interview printed in the inner flier. It is a great package all together"
Fellini's most underrated film....and completely insane (cre
Grigory's Girl | NYC | 04/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this film. I think it's as good as the great Fellini films (8 1/2, La Dolce Vita). There are moments of incredible magic throughout, and it's vividly cinematic. Some of Fellini's greatest sequences (like the one when Snaporaz goes down the slide into an "amusement" park) are pure Fellini magic. The cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno is magnificent. It is one of Fellini's most inventive and surreal pictures (which, for him, is really saying something). The 138 minute running time just flies by. Many critics said that Fellini never made a good film after Amarcord, but they are so wrong. Almost every latter day Fellini film (even The Voices of the Moon, which never got a proper release in this country) has some elements in it that could only be brought out by the great Maestro. This film (along with And the Ship Sails On and Intrevista) are amongst Fellini's forgotten films, which is a shame, since they are well worth watching. See this one. It's amazing filmmaking...