A beautiful, ambitious young woman joins a traveling troupe of third-rate vaudevillians and inadvertently causes jealousy and emotional crises.A beautiful, ambitious young woman joins a traveling troupe of third-rate vaudevillians and inadvertently causes jealousy and emotional crises.A beautiful, ambitious young woman joins a traveling troupe of third-rate vaudevillians and inadvertently causes jealousy and emotional crises.
But even here the comparisons stop superficially; already here, and I don't know how much or little Latuada contributed as director of if it was a total collaboration, Fellini's "I love them, despite everything, even to an extent the selfish Antonelli" attention and embrace of the Low-Rent Performer and the ideal of what the crowd does to someone in general makes for come captivating viewing. I thought at first the male lead was too one note to latch on to, that he would be only a gruff uptight dickweed, but he deepened as the story got him into more desperate straits and his world turns him into a vulnerable puddle.
There are hints of what may come some day with the more Fellini Unchained productions, like a dinner party that features about forty five absorbingly disgusting seconds of the troupe eating a big dinner with the mastication on another wild plane of existence (the only time this was done without it being obnoxious in a film was The Dark Crystal, and that was because they were Muppets, ok as good a digression ill make this week), and dancing and interactions that feel so much like what we've seen so often in Fellini's films that he knew what he wanted from the beginning as far as freewheeling party sequences. But Variety Lights is a film that is richest as a melodrama that gives a wealth of its time to showing these faces, of the performers in action, the crowd as they know what they don't want and get enthralled by cheap thrills (there goes her skirt!) It's also a kind of absurd tragedy of ego and losing oneself in more misplsced ego.
In other words, a very good start to one career, and a nice little discovery at the same time by the director of Mafioso.
- Sep 30, 2020