Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Original title: Il Casanova Di Federico Fellini
Italy/USA, 1976. Produzioni Europee Associate. Screenplay by Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi, based on the autobiography Storia della mia Vita by Giacomo Casanova. Cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. Produced by Alberto Grimaldi. Music by Nino Rota. Production Design by Danilo Donati. Costume Design by Danilo Donati, Federico Fellini. Film Editing by Ruggero Mastroianni. Academy Awards 1976.
Even fans of Fellini’s films will have a tough time getting through this laborious biopic of the famous lover. Instead of playing into myth and directing a Harlequin romance-inspired tale of debauched sexual bawd, Fellini finds the more poetic and lamentable aspects of Giacomo Casanova’s life to exploit. Using a melancholy pace that every audience member feels without question, Fellini seeks to describe the man’s mundane life by purposely making a boring film: this is very impressive and daring, but doesn’t make it any more fun to sit through. It benefits from beautiful period detail (especially Danilo Donati’s Oscar-winning costumes) and a fantastic performance in the lead by Donald Sutherland (whom Fellini chose because he said he had the big, bulging eyes of a rampant masturbator). The screenplay, based on Casanova’s own writings, is thought-provoking and intelligent, but the overall experience will appeal to only a select group of film lovers.