Fellini’s Roma (1972) B-
In 1972, Fellini made a tentative return to the kind of film that had made him famous with the semi-documentary Roma (or Fellini’s Roma), an affectionate, satirical look at the Eternal City, offering a kaleidoscopic synthesis of some facts but also the director’s own memories and wild fantasy, proving to be an uneasy combination for viewers and reviewers.
The story begins in the small town where the young Fellini (played by Majore), is born. Majore’s wish to live in Rome materializes when he moves there in 1938, just before WWII breaks out. Another actor, Gonzales, plays the teenager Fellini, who livves in a tenement, observings the rich lives of his neighbors.
Jumping to 1970, the story finds Fellini (playing himself) as a famous filmmaker, shooting a traffic jam during a heavy rainstorm, while his memory goes back to his early days in the city when he attended a vaudeville show.
Back in the present, Fellini shoots the construction of the subway that has been being built for decades; digging leads to archaelogical finds and the area becomes off-limits. He then depicts in breif and bold brushes a bordello, a clerical fashion show, and a street festival where cops besiege radical youths.
Fellini himself interviews some “real-life” Romans on camera, such as Anna Magnani (who never appeared in his movies), Gore Vidal, Alberto Sordi, and Marcello Mastroianni. Then after dark, the city turns quiet, but the silence is broken by motorcyclists riding all over the city to the Colosseum.
Fellini was criticized by harsh critics for rehashing familiar themes and ideas, resulting in an episodic narrative that often felt like a parody of Fellini’s other, better movies, such as “La Dolce Vita and 81/2.”
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