Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Italy/France, 1960. Riama Film, Cinecittà, Pathe Consortium Cinema. Story by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Screenplay by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi. Cinematography by Otello Martelli. Produced by Giuseppe Amato, Angelo Rizzoli. Music by Nino Rota. Production Design by Piero Gherardi. Costume Design by Piero Gherardi. Film Editing by Leo Catozzo. Podcast: My Criterions.
The definitive Fellini masterpiece and possibly one of the best films to really capture the runaway creativity that dominated sixties cinema. Marcello Mastroianni shot to international stardom as a tabloid reporter who travels through the odyssey that is Rome and its celebrities. He hangs out with his rich friend (Anouk Aimee), befriends a visiting movie star (Anita Ekberg, whose fountain-jumping scene is the most famous sequence of the film), investigates a religious phenomenon and attends a few wild parties. Each episode brings Mastroianni further away from real life and closer to a numb, soulless existence that seems to represent the fecklessness of the Italian upper classes; the film can be said to be the more passionate sibling to Antonioni’s L’Avventura. Fascinating for three solid hours, chock full of gorgeous images and pure movie magic, the film also contributed the word “paparazzo” to the English language (it’s the photographer’s name in the film) and caused a huge controversy when first released (the Catholic Church damned Fellini and his film so vehemently that even his mother was ashamed). Either way you have it, Rome has never looked better, before or since.
The Criterion Collection: #733
Academy Award: Best Costume Design-BW
Nominations: Best Director (Federico Fellini); Best Original Story and Screenplay; Best Art Direction-BW
Cannes Film Festival Award: Palme D’Or