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 whose inability to come to terms with reality leads her along a hallucinatory journey of self-discovery. —The Criterion Collection
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
This was my third Fellini film, and I liked the other two more. I was captured by the bizarrely rapid pace at the beginning of the film and the premise held promise for me (a woman dealing with her self worth during a marriage crisis), but for me the middle got boring and I wasn't feeling Fellini's "here are some dreams/ghosts" like I was in 8 1/2. I just don't think I'll ever be a huge fan of his.
The portrait of middle aged woman, her past, her ghosts, her beliefs. All of that approached with an intense use of psychedelic scenes, the very characteristic style of Fellini. A story, for it's strong visual, only possible in cinema.The director's wife and muse, Giulietta Masina, plays a very enjoyable interpretation here. Needless to say that the soundtrack is spectacular, probably one of Nino Rota's bests.
Caught half way between the truly wonderful madness of Fellini's later films and the more restrained surrealism of his late Black and White features, I stumbled into this film backwards and expected more. It's not that there isn't plenty to love, and the brilliant parts are absolutely wonderful, it's simply overall it was too normal for me.
I want to call this movie a masterpiece so badly but argh! It's just not there, there's some delirious bits that are impossible not to admire and the lead is all kinds of charming but Fellini can't quite make his point without it feeling excessive at least to me. And in the end it just doesn't quite come together in the way that something like 8 1/2 does. A must see none the less.
I normally raise an eyebrow when critics speak of directors of being “too indulgent” or expressing some sort of self-masturbatory vision. I scoff because it’s often misused; many… read review
Watching “Juliet of the Spirits” again, detached from the notion that “Fellini was God,” was an interesting experience. I found myself rooting the whole time for Giulietta to escape the wretched picture… read review
Federico Fellini’s surreal, beautiful, philosophical, confessional masterwork about the doubts plaguing a woman (Giulietta Masina, his wife) whose happiness begins to diminish after she begins to fear… read review