Leisurely one moment and breathless the next, this urban fantasia by Federico Fellini interweaves recollections of the director’s young adulthood in the era of Mussolini with an impressionistic portrait of contemporary Rome, where he and his film crew are gathering footage of the bustling cityscape.
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From 2014, late Fellini marks not an artistic moment so much as an economic one: the insane post-60s era when an arthouse director was enough of a brand name that he could get funding to turn his loose collection of thoughts into a string of big set-pieces, then have it treated as an event. Loose, dated, intermittently beautiful, self-important, transitional. File it next to Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother.
4.5 Gorgeous set pieces (the flat, the fashion show) and remarkably poetic sequences (the frescos) throughout. That traffic chapter might be my favorite. Fellini at the peak of his artistic freedom and power. Who would get the chance to realize a non-narrative personal vision of this scope today?
As undeniably cinematic as Fellini's Roma is, the experience of it feels something more like a rhapsody (a capriccio): Manic allegros (dinner scene); enveloping orchestral swells (traffic scene); sublime, transcendent masses (the frescoes)... Transportive. So that, by the end, I'm both spent & fulfilled. This is not Fellini's folly at all, but his own genius. Best fashion show scene after Klein's Polly Maggoo. 4.5
Rome seen as she-wolf and vestal virgin, aristocrat and tramp. Grave and comical - the analogy between the parade of prostitutes at wartime brothels and clerical runway fashion show. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/__WXJ0SggPIw/S8Lyu9X9y7I/AAAAAAAADWY/SZ7uxfgcXfA/s1600/Fellinis+Roma+American.JPG