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A virtually plotless, gaudy, impressionistic portrait of Rome through the eyes of one of its most famous citizens. blending autobiography (a reconstruction of Fellini's own arrival in Rome during the Mussolini years; a trip to a brothel and a music-hall) with scenes from present-day Roman life (a massive traffic jam on the autostrada; a raucous journey through Rome after dark; following an archaeological team through the site of the Rome subways; an unforgettable ecclesiastical fashion show) Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Peter Gonzales Falcon's hairstyles are all in the longish 1972 mode, even though the portions of the film in which he appears are supposed to be taking place thirty or more years earlier, at which time men's hair was cut much, much shorter, and would never be worn as it appears in this film. See more »
Opinions may vary regarding the work of this artist.
One thing is certain: the man had a genius for making any person, place or thing a "Fellini subject": no matter where his camera pointed, what emerged on celluloid was a "Fellini image."
In "Roma" the shot could be a routine traffic jam; with Fellini not an ordinary one. Along the standard highway appears darkly hooded figures--one holding a silhouetted parasol--while a bonfire casually smolders, emitting clouds of black smoke.
It's no longer just a normal freeway but a Felliniesque creation mounted on the surreal palette of a genuine stylist.
Contemplate the quality of his characteristically rapid-paced dialogue, and you'll discover it's less communicative discourse and more self-indulgent chatter.
All the Fellini trademarks are there: big breasted women, clownlike characters, rude Rabelaisian remarks, all to brassy street band accompaniments tooted on worn, cheap instruments.
In some ways "Roma" picks up where "Satyricon" leaves off, minus main characters. It's all an extremely personal vision--and not a little bit weird, rather like temporarily inhabiting the domain of a slightly warped mentality.
Recalling my own visit to the Eternal City, I don't recall experiencing anything like this purgatorian collage. Then again, I suppose what we see is pretty much the result of who we are.
Made just a couple of years after Antonioni filmed his "Zabriskie Point" in Los Angeles, Fellini never "did the foreign thing," opting to remain working on his home terrain.
For Fellini fans and others with an interest in film history, "Roma" occupies a valid place for observation, notation and appreciation.
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