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La città delle donne
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Reviews & Ratings for
City of Women More at IMDbPro »La città delle donne (original title)

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Index 23 reviews in total 

29 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, funny, absurd, visually marvelous.

Author: Ymir4 from US
5 December 2003

Fellini never made too many films that had absurdly intense sexual themes and dialogue. He made two, and along with `Casanova,' `The City of Women' revolves almost entirely around sex. What `City of Women' has that `Casanova' did not, however, is a beautiful child-like view of things that really makes Fellini's movies fun in the first place. It also has Marcello Mastroianni (one of my favorite actors) and gorgeous surreal cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno. `City of Women' begins, appropriately enough, with a train going into a tunnel. Marcello Mastroianni is Snaporez, an again man on a train. He begins to flirt with the woman who is sitting across from him and follows her into the bathroom. As he reveals his lustful feelings, the train suddenly stops and she gets out. He runs after her and ends up at a hotel that appears to be hosting a feminist convention, a REALLY exaggerated and completely insane feminist convention. He soon discovers the entire land he is in is populated with women. Snaporaz is both frightened and in awe of the variety of women that surround him, and they represent virtually all viewpoints of feminist issues - from angry man-haters to whores to crazy teenage girls to dancers to roller skaters to older, more motherly women. Throughout the film the women are clearly in total control, and I interpret this film as a womanizer's nightmare, which makes perfect sense.

The film is perfect by no means, but it's still a bit of a treasure if you're a Fellini fan who has explored most of his body of work, and yet are still starved for some Felliniesque fun. This film has that, and a lot of it. The greatest scene in the film is toward the end, where Snaporez crawls under a bed and comes out inside a bright beautiful carnival. He slides down a stylized rollercoaster and mentally goes through some of his life's most memorable sexual situations. This was a marvelous scene, with a beautiful carnival set, and above all, brilliantly scored by Luis Bacalov.

Overall, I have no idea who will like this film. Even Fellini fans seem to dislike it, or even hate it. I found it to be a lot of fun, and visually marvelous.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Not a masterpiece but the trademark Fellini genius still shines through

Author: Asa_Nisi_Masa2 from Rome, Italy
19 March 2006

A few weeks ago, I posted a review of 8½, presently my undisputed Number 1 favourite movie. Still on the subject of Il Maestro, I've recently rewatched City of Women. This is another Fellini movie I'd watched many years ago, in my late teens, and didn't like at all back then. Well, I liked it (with reservations) this time. La città delle donne is one of the most robust, unrepressed and rough-around-the-edges explorations of the specifically Latin nature of machismo, feminism, gender rivalry and sexual politics I have ever seen. Many people don't like La città delle donne, but like 8½ and most Fellini movies of the later period it has an extraordinary, instinctive grasp of the rhythm and symbolic power of dreams. Its irritating aspect is coupled with and impossible to separate from the grasp it has upon the potency of what our psyche hides in among its hidden, ancestral folds - in this case, Marcello Mastroianni's character's but also our very own. This movie worms its way into your own psyche in time - as with other Fellini movies, it seems to reveal scenes that are totally new and surprising, yet strangely familiar to me even though I've never seen them before. As if I'd always been familiar with them, perhaps from a previous life - Fellini seems able to tap into a universal psychic blueprint of the soul, I think that's what it is - only a true Genius could do something like this. He gets to the emotional core of human experience, which means that even though I was never a young man who went to a brothel in 1930s Italy, as he has, there is something of the experience that I can relate to, as if it were universal. I guess the fact that things are rarely LITERALLY represented in his later movies (post-La Dolce Vita), also contributes towards this, making everything more symbolic and hence, universal.

But Città delle donne is also a shrill, over-the-top movie, grating in some ways, ridiculous, dated in others. Character-wise, Marcello is probably at his most repulsive... or perhaps I should say pathetic. But the movie, though flawed and a rehash of some other familiar Fellini themes treated more successfully elsewhere, is also delightful in parts, with a power in the use of visual symbols that I have rarely seen before, even in his own, more overall successful movies. For instance, the whole sequence in Dr Xavier Katzone's grotesque house, especially the mausoleum-like tunnel containing what is essentially the "essence" of his numerous past conquests, as well as the scenes of Marcello floating on the very originally-shaped "hot air balloon", Marcello being chased by the drugged-up teenage girl bullies in their squeaky old jalopies, etc - all scenes I won't be forgetting in a hurry.

If one really finds nothing to like in La città delle donne, it's ultimately still an important document on the gender battles that recent humanity has crossed. Perhaps Italy began these a decade or two later than, for instance, Northern European nations, but it got there eventually and in its own special, culturally individual way that can be compared to no other, since Italian men and women are not German or British or Swedish. Fellini pays tribute to that very Italian type of battle of the sexes here, stereotype-free but ever so evocatively. I have never delighted more in the never-obvious send-up of machismo as with this movie. This may be lost on non-Italian speakers but even the man's name, Katzone, is a phonetic rendering of the vulgar Italian word for... er... "big (male) genitals"! I give La città delle donne a 7½ out of 10 - I would have given it an 8 if it hadn't irritated me with its excesses in certain parts. Oh, what the hell - let's give it an 8/10!

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19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Of all the Fellini films, this is probably his most erotic…

Author: Righty-Sock ( from Mexico
16 September 2008

It is not as much a study of eroticism as it is one man's erotic fantasy about the battle between the sexes…

A rich, horny Italian (Mastroianni) meets a woman on a train… When the train stops, he follows her into a lonely wood, which becomes a futuristic world of forceful women who have almost entirely destroyed completely all men in their society…

Mastroianni's character is left alive as a curiosity piece… His experiences carry him deeper and deeper into this bizarre fantasy city… The film never fully provides passion and erotic lusts, but is tickling and stimulating pleasantly none the less... Fellini's point—that women resent the fact that men are easily excited—is most effectively carried by Donatella Damiani, a buxom and very beautiful young actress who runs nearly naked throughout the movie…

Although the film never tires, it never quite completes its erotic expectations either, giving priority to consider carefully its own bizarre reality… It has elements of science fiction and adventure, but is more exactly a fantasy on the estrangement between men and women...

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Disagree with other posters -- Outstanding Movie

Author: Enigma700 from United States
19 February 2007

By the time this movie was made Women's issues were alive in the media of all industrialized nations ... This movie was meant to shock and shock it does. Its not crass ... it is very cerebral and highbrow. The character is lost in a sea of femme weapons. This movie actually depicts well the confusion and men and women in a new age. The movie is full of enticement followed by letdown and weirdness ... as is our daily lives in this new age. Have you ever heard that all a man thinks about is sex ... well this movie takes it to extremes. Its funny, scary, enticing, crazy, dreamy, wild, intellectual, modern. I think one of best of Frederico. He got better with age. The movie characters are all over the edge, too much, too weird ... its all for a point.

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15 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Fellini does feminism.

Author: squelcho
28 June 2005

I'm not going to pretend that this is classic Fellini, or a masterpiece of Italian/European art-house cinema, but.....there's a lot going on in this movie that rewards a lengthy attention span. Mastroiani plays the archetypal middle-aged menopausal misogynist, the oldest swinger in town, calling women everything but women. Sows, mares, bitches, etc.

Fellini effortlessly sets him up for a long slow surreal fall from grace, deconstructing his fear of women in the process. It's a temporal culture clash, as stiff monochrome macho sexism meets technicolour badass feminism head on.

There's a few of Fellini's sublime production games going on in the background, most notably the orgasm orchestra that builds from the sono-portraits of Marcello's past lovers. The symbolism on display throughout is typically oblique, but it's effortlessly played for laughs in a way that few of his earlier films managed.

I've seen most of Fellini's output, from La Strada to Ginger and Fred, and for me this movie stands out along with those two as an accessible entry point into the satirical world view of one of Italy's most interesting directors.

It's certainly not a masterpiece, but it's definitely a wry look at the sexual mores of the day. And the cinematography ain't bad either.

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

My brief review of the film

Author: sol- from Perth, Australia
6 July 2005

A number of fascinating sequences and a few interesting ideas keep this film afloat when the other element do not work out. The film makes it quite clear within the first hour that what we are witnessing is a dream, and the sets, costumes and hues all reflect a dreamlike state very well. But, we know little of our protagonist before he falls asleep, nor do we see much that he has done, and therefore it becomes all rather meaningless - just a collection of thoughts, rather than anything relating to the "real world". Still, it is certainly quite interesting to watch, as one never knows just what will happen next. The film has a very intriguing screenplay, if not much else, and Marcello Mastroianni is rather good, if not great, in the lead. It is not a brilliant piece of work, especially coming from such a highly praised director, but it is an interesting film, with a gripping dreamlike quality.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dynamic Set Pieces, Wry Observation, and Marcello Mastrionni Make My Day

Author: museumofdave from Corning, California
21 March 2013

My adoration for this seemingly out-of-control fantasia of male fears of woman as individual or Love Goddess is somewhat unreasonable; I do not tire of watching City of Women and have subjected others to Fellini's episodic wandering, loaded as it is with spectacular imagery; remarkably, some of them remain my friends.

Early Fellini films such as La Strada and Nights of Cabiria are really fairly conventional films with unconventional characters, easy to follow and memorable for leading characters such as Gelsomina or Cabiria. In the early 1960's, Fellini experimented with drugs and underwent extensive psychoanalysis and the results of experimentation were reflected in his films, which became more personal visions and while delighting some viewers, frustrated others for their lack of linear narrative.

City of Women is one of those, jammed with bizarre imagery, full of often peculiar fantasies, as it follows the Fellini stand-in, Snaporaz, as he cuts a train journey short to follow a female conquest into a world that he has never considered, a world where women dominate, a world that addresses many male anxieties and fears, a dream world full of nightmares. I first saw this film in 1980, and thought it only fair; with the passage of time I think it has only become more relevant to male-female relationships, and the imagery, in contrast with most pallid films made today, visually electrifying. While realizing that others may react in critical horror, my vote for this Fellini is "Nine"!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

City of Women

Author: Martin Teller from Portland OR
4 January 2012

Kind of shrill and not very subtle, but nonetheless fascinating. Marcello Mastroianni plays "Snaporaz" (Fellini's nickname for the actor), who gets lost in a nightmare world where he is confronted with feminism, absurd satires of machismo and sexual fantasies and confusion. This film doesn't seem to have a very good reputation, even among Fellini fans, but I was mostly enthralled with its strange, unpredictable rhythms, visually astonishing sets, sense of humor and dreamworld logic. The cinematography (by Guiseppe Rotunno, who did a number of other Fellini films, as well as ALL THAT JAZZ, with which this picture shares some similarities) is delightful and the score is a mix of the usual carnivalesque tunes and eerie, more modern sounds... and one hell of a great Italo-disco song. Some parts are annoying or just too long, but overall it's my favorite of Fellini's later career, a surreal amusement about masculine fear and self-loathing.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not very subtle, but still an interesting Fellini

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
1 August 2012

Continuing my Fellini quest, I found City of Women to be interesting. It is not my favourite Fellini, the pace feels sluggish at times and it is rather shrill and unsubtle in tone. On the other hand, Fellini directs beautifully with his distinctive style most evident. City of Women is visually stunning in scenery, costumes and cinematography. The music is full of cheerful energy and nostalgia, while in terms of writing the autobiographical aspects are interesting, the self-parody and satirical aspects are funny and the dream aspects are appropriately dream-like and in an enchanting way. The story shines with the personal and nostalgic style that is so distinctive of Fellini. The acting is fine, especially from the ever compelling Marcello Mastroianni, though his performances in La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2 are even better.

All in all, interesting but I personally would have preferred more subtlety. 7/10 Bethany Cox

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Dreams That Come True

Author: drbagrov from Taiwan
31 October 2010

This film is a real feast for the legion of Federico Fellini fans.It has everything: the dream-like Felliniesque atmosphere, the nostalgic soundtrack by Louis Bacalov (Fellini's constant composer and co-creator of his masterpieces, Nino Rota, died in 1979),the scathing satire on the feminism and male chauvinism, and on the society at large,in which Fellini grew more and more disappointed (the best and final example is his last film "The Voice of the Moon").Perhaps, the great director is a little more bitter than ever, a little more sarcastic and nostalgic,but as a piece of art, "The City of Women" is one of the best films he has ever made.Needless to say that all the actors are superb,including the incomparable Marcello Mastroianni, Fellini's alter ego in "Otto e Mezzo". The great Art of Federico Fellini is timeless: even today, in my Cinema Class,my students appreciate it as much as their Professor did thirty years ago.

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