Cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's masterful use of Technicolor transforms Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first color feature, into a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories. Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife... more » whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the fully restored version of one of Fellini's most dazzling dreams.« less
"DO NOT BUY THIS MOVIE. It is cut by over 10 minuts. Do not support this kind of bad realeses. It is a pity for the film is really very god and is worth a better destiny than this. To Image Entertainment: DO NOT CUT MOVIES."
Well worth seeing; wish it were even better
R. Geatz | Washington, DC USA | 05/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The film was generally panned when it was first released, and you can still see why. It doesn't live up to the standards Fellini set earlier with his early masterpieces "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria" or his later international hits "8 1/2" and "La Dolce Vita." The visuals are almost hallucinatory, but the story of a repressed middle-aged woman (played by the wonderful Mrs. Fellini, Giulietta Masina)coming to grips with her husband's infidelity and her own childhood demons is woefully underdeveloped and gives Masina very little to do--other than rely on trademark twitches and outlandish costumes. Still, some of the fantasies are mindboggling and incredibly creative. (Ever since I first saw this film, I've wanted to visit a treehouse like the one Juliet's neighbor takes her to.) And I'm particularly fond of the hoards of faceless nuns forcing school-girl Juliet to act out the martyrdom of some saint on a grill--from which her eccentric grandfather rescues his "little Bifsteak." Sandra Milo is a vision and fantasy come-true as Suzi, one of the spirits who leads Juliet to eventually free herself. Some of the sixties touches make for fun nostalgia now--like the twisting twins on the beach and Juliet's family's psychodelic couture. Regretfully the film never quite achieves its potential, but it's still well worth a watch. Any Fellini movie scored by the fabulous Nino Rota is worth watching for the music alone. (A previous post claims this to be Giulietta Masina's "swan song." Nope...she later co-starred in Fellini's disappointing "Ginger & Fred.") Regarding the pre-"Criterion Collection" DVD release; it would have been nice to have a fuller restoration, and this film especially seems ripe for including lots of additional extras that aren't there. I look forward to the new Criterion Collection release!"
The most "Felliniesque" of Fellini films--& the most moving
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 02/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giulietta is a wealthy, mousy Roman housewife who lives on the margins of her own supposed milieu. Dominated by her beautiful, haughty mother (who can barely tolerate her) and her tall and glamorous sisters, patronized by her rich ding-a-ling friends mostly because of her sympathetic nature (but secretly held in contempt by them for her lack of beauty), Giulietta hides instead in her perfect house with her servants--the only people she can really call her friends--and in her fantasies of her marriage to her jetsetting husband, who seems never to be around. As Giulietta comes to suspect what everyone else has known for years--that he is cheating in her--she simultaneously begins to be visited by spirits who seem to have something to tell her. But as she learns more of her husband's infidelities, and comes to examine the emptiness of her own life, Giulietta's spirits seem less like actual supernatural presences and more like manifestations of a descent into madness.This is by no means Fellini's "best" film, but it is the one most people think of when they use the adjective "Felliniesque." The fantasy sequences, the striking use of color (particularly orange--this was his first color film, and he really went to town), the decadent Sixties fashions, and the gorgeous stauesque women who seem to have invaded from outer space: they're all here, and many of the sequences in this film have been parodied again and again. Its imitations come for a good reason: the film is utterly absolutely unforgettable. There are sequences in it that are as fine or as memorable as anything Fellini has ever done--particularly the great lawn party sequence, where Giulietta finally breaks down.There are many things wrong with the film: the script doesn't make a whole lot of sense at times, and the fantasy sequences seem less like something Giulietta would imagine and more like Fellini's usual obsessions (statuesque women, the circus, etc.). And as superbly icy as Caterina Boratto is as Giulietta's mother ("Nice kimono," she sneers at her daughter at the lawn party), did he really have to cast actresses twice as tall as his Giulietta to be her mother and sisters? (Even if we are to accept that most of the movie is from her point of view, it still stretches belief.) What makes it all work so brilliantly in the end, though, is the director's sense of filmic narrative drive (beautifully orchestrated to Nino Rota's famous score) and the performance of the lead actress, Giulietta Masina, who makes it all really matter. Although Masina has not been as praised for this role as much as for her work in CABIRIA and LA STRADA, her work here is every bit as fine, and perhaps better for its greater subtlety. Watch her expression the first time she sees one of her visions after she closes her eyes on the beach--or her astounding range in the lawn party sequence as she segues from forced cheerfulness to utter helplessness to rage, and then finally to despair. (When she finally loses it at her guests and screams at them, it's hard to say what is more memorable: her moment of fury or her terrifyingly lost expression when she realizes they haven't even noticed). Although you really should see this on the big screen (and on as clear a print as possible), this is a film every student of film should see."
Okay transfer of a Great Film
Steve Mobia | USA | 04/06/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First let me say that I'm grateful to have a fairly decent rendition of one of my favorite films. This film epitomizes what came to be known as Felliniesque - a lavish subconscious "theme and varriations" on the subject of marriage, sensuality and guilt. It's also the film that makes the best use of color than any other I've seen. Because I've seen "Juliet" many times in theaters I can say with some authority that the DVD transfer lacks the sharpness and vivid color of the original. In general it's too dark and focus is soft. The biggest problem is the sound which is constantly out of sync by a quarter second (at least on my player). I know Fellini always post dubbed his voices but effects and music were always in sync. There is also a harshness to the sound and at times some distortion. On the plus side, the print had no scratches and with the exception of a few strange clipped transitions (noticible by the soundtrack) seems to be the complete film. I'd have to disagree with another reviewer here who says that much is missing. It's basically the same version remember seeing over the years. I live in the US though and perhaps there was a longer Europeon version. This is one of Fellini's most hallucinatory pictures. The combination of hyper-rich color and costume combined with Nino Rota's curious score make for a completely unique viewing experience."
What a Transfer!
R. Geatz | 02/16/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first film in color, is one of his most surreal. Giulietta Masina plays Juliet, a meek bourgeois housewife haunted by various "spirits," each with its own psychological agenda. Ultimately the film is life affirming, presenting a longing but repressed sexuality and its crises with childhood memories and psychic yearnings.This film is very special to me because it was my first encounter with Fellini's cinema. When I found out Criterion has released it, I had to buy it. The transfer is simply unbelievable! The film's restoration makes it look completely new. This is not the Juliet of the Spirits I watched on VHS.There is only one extra feature accompanying this DVD--"Familiar Spirits," a 20-minute talk between Fellini and Ian Dallas, the Brit who played the magician/psychic in 8 1/2. A great film in a great Criterion presentation."