Directed by Federico Fellini, this BAFTA-nominated satire tells the story of aging celebrity impersonators Amelia Bonetti (Giulietta Masina) and Pippo Botticella (Marcello Mastroianni), who made a name for themselves with a Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire dancing act before parting ways. When they’re offered a chance to resurrect the old act on a TV variety show, they jump at the chance — but do they still have their old spark?
Federico Fellini was born in 1920 to a provincial middle-class family in Rimini, a small town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The lack of available options to young men in provincial towns is an important theme in some of his films, most notably I Vitelloni and Amarcord. In fact, Orson Welles once described Fellini as “a small-town boy who’s never really come to Rome. He’s still dreaming about it. And we should all be grateful for those dreams.” He initially arrived in Rome as a law student but his career as a satirical cartoonist and gag writer was already well established by then. His childhood fascination with the circus and the Grand Guignol also governed his cinephilia in these early years. His favourite films were American comedies by Chaplin, Keaton, Harry Langdon and the Marx Brothers. It was only after he came into contact with the circle of Ettore Scola, Cesare Zavattini, Aldo Fabrizi and Roberto Rossellini, that he would seriously consider the cinema as a medium of expression… read more
Though many consider his latter efforts to be his weakest work, this film is as inventive, offbeat, heartfelt, and charming as you'd expect from Fellini. Re-teaming with Marcello Mastroianni and Giulietta Masina, who he'd directed in so many iconic roles, adds an extra dimension of poignancy to their superb performances. A wonderful film that Fellini fans must not overlook.