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Life Has No Plot
Wiebke16 September 2000
Some people would complain that this movie has no plot, but does life have a plot? No, of course not! And so this movies goes, from scene to scene, through memories, collages, documentary footage, hallucinations, with only one continuous character but hundreds of faces, bits of conversation, music, all flowing around just like life when you are very drunk and everything in life makes sense, no matter how absurd.

This movie contains some stunning scenes: the "ecclesiastical fashion show"; the Roman traffic jam in the rain; the deli-style whorehouse; the family style meal; the discovery and destruction of Roman ruins during the construction of the subway system. You can walk in at any moment on this movie and it doesn't matter, you don't have to follow it to enjoy it. Perhaps this is true of all Fellini movies, I'm not sure -- certainly it's true of another favorite of mine, Satyricon.
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Bravo, Maestro!
Galina_movie_fan21 March 2005
Beautiful and colorful Fellini's Roma (1972) is a very enjoyable film with a subtle message and a lot of heart. The magnificent Eternal City, one of the most famous cities in the world is deservingly the main character of this very personal for its creator, Maestro Fellini, film that can be described as a montage of unrelated scenes.

"Roma" consists of three parts. In the beginning, young Federico, the student in his native Rimini, learns about Rome from movies, plays, works of art, and from school history lessons. Then, as a young man, he arrives to Eternal City, strange, loud, and confusing on the outbreak of World War II. The third part takes us to the beginning of 70th when Fellini, the famous master is creating a visually unforgettable, full of life and history portrait of Rome consisting of several vignettes that take us back and forth in time and director's memory.

I think the reason I enjoyed "Roma" is that its vignettes have so much heart and love, irony , and interest to the master's favorite city, its past and present, to its streets, palaces, and cathedrals, and to its people, their laughs, smiles, and tears. Some of the stories are amusing (variety show, first Federico's dinner in one of the outside restaurants where everybody knows everybody) while some are very emotional.

A powerful scene takes place in an underground tunnel where subway construction workers discovered an ancient palace filled with beautiful frescoes of Ancint Rome period that later slowly fade out and disappear before our eyes taking with them a mystery of times long gone.

I loved the fashion show of nuns and priests; I liked the sequence with the prostitutes on display – both are typical Fellini's surreal scenes, funny and sad in the same time.

In improvement from "Satyricon," this time, Fellini, did not have any central characters presented in every vignette; and result is more satisfying: this is one of the best documentary style movies that I have seen. The main character in all its stories is Rome and that's the only character we need here.

Gracie Federico!
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Forever Fellini
harry-7625 December 2002
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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A non-traditional film which exceeds all expectations.
Tgrain21 November 1999
ROMA is not the kind of film you may want to watch if you are in the mood for a made for TV movie, but perfect if you want to get away from one. The ultimate cinematic escape, it is a collection of interesting and arresting scenes and images from Rome throughout history. It does not concentrate on history per say, but excerpts Italian society and it's lifestyles from the conformity of Mussolini's time to the hippy-dippy days - in a non-narrative, non-documentary way. Some things change, others stay the same. Don't expect to find much of a plot, but rather moments of great amusement with character and sometimes very involving images. ROMA doesn't insult it's viewers with it's unconventional liberties, and that alone makes it a worthwhile trip to take - even if only once.
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A portrayal of a love for a city
mattreviews16 January 2005
At the opening credits of "Roma", we are informed by our narrator and director Federico Fellini that this is not a normal film in the traditional storytelling sense, but more a perception of Rome, the way Fellini sees it. Sounds interesting? Well, it is, in that one must be so in love with their city to want to show it to the world through a series of small stories and shots of random happenings. I can relate: I have the same love for Melbourne.

We shift from a portrayal of Fellini as a schoolboy with dreams of going to Rome, to a depiction of Fellini as a young man, moving to the city he always wanted to live at. There's also scenes of early 1970s theatre attendance, the almost ritual-like eating habits of the Romans, and then we move onto a documentary-like part of the film where we get to see Fellini's camera crew struggle as they try to capture the hustle and bustle of the entrance into Rome via a major highway, filled with drifters, animals, trucks, hitch-hikers, bikes, and more.

The constant changing in scenes and stories is a bit messy, and could possibly confuse those not understanding what Fellini is trying to do with the film. At some times, I found myself questioning whether what we were being shown was a realistic dramatization of Fellini's past experiences, or some kind of farcical take on Roman culture (see the religious clothing fashion show scene!). The film is quite intriguing, taking in the sexual revolution of the era and putting it up against a city full of tradition. We are also exposed to some of the city's dirty little secrets, such as the surprising popularity of their whorehouses.

It can't be denied that there is something endearing to "Roma" that allows Fellini to get away with a film that doesn't really give you much to take home with you, other than an idea of what Rome was like for someone in 1972, and what kind of life was lead to come to those perceptions. It is somewhat self indulgent, but Fellini does put across the impression that he has something to show you, something he'd like to share with you, because he has loved it for so long, and it still fascinates him on a daily basis.
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Eternal city
jotix10015 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Federico Fellini's love for his adoptive city was unique. It was only natural he would make this film in which his awe and admiration for what became his playground is captured in vivid images which only could come from one of the most important masters of the Italian cinema of all times. The film is both a comedy and a sort of documentary in which we watch the director, himself, performing the role of what he did behind the camera, for our benefit.

The film is autobiographical in many aspects. We watch as the young Federico, an aspiring journalist arrives in Rome from his native Rimini. His new home is in an apartment where he has been recommended to stay by relatives. The place was pure chaos with the many different Roman characters he found there. The heat of the summer brought everyone to the streets where dining was an art. The food in great proportions in spite of a war going on. Fellini is an observer of his new surroundings. The woman street singer that goes through the tables, reminds us a little bit of Gelsomina, an immortal character created by the director, and also of Cabiria, the fun loving prostitute.

Rome, being a the chaotic place it was, is presented at a dizzying speed by the director who has taken his camera outside along a busy highway as fans from Naples arrive to attend a soccer match against the local team. The autostrada is some is a metaphor that emphasizes the confusion and the chaos anyone feels when arriving to Rome. Fellini ends it all in a massive car tie up in the street around the Colosseum. Fellini renders homage to his city in the last sequence as well taking the viewer through a night ride by motorcyclists that passes by all the best known monuments of the city.

We are also taken to a neighborhood music hall that presents vaudeville acts. The atmosphere was typical of the one found in such places where everyone went to have a good time with their friends and neighbors. These places attracted a rough crowd that made a tough place for performers in which to act. Theater in Italy, although not remotely close to the scene Fellini shows, is a place where the real drama is not presented on stage; the real show is given by all the people that go to be seen without shame of behaving in strange ways.

The subway excavation sequence offers an interesting aside in which the present day and the olden times come together when the workers discover a Roman home underground. The magnificence of the images that are discovered reveal the proud past of one of the oldest and most artistic civilizations of all times. Alas, it is only short lived because of the air that penetrates the hidden frescoes found under the rubble make them disappear.

The brothel also played a big part in the sentimental education of the maestro. We have seen prostitutes in all of of Fellini's films in one way, or another. He wants to take us to two different kinds of pleasure houses, one for the common citizen and a high class one that closes up when important celebrities decide to have private fun. Fellini juxtaposes the scenes at the brothels with a gathering of the Catholic Church higher ups that have come to Princess Domitilla's palace for an ornate fashion show for ecclesiastical fashion that is decadent in the excesses presented. Like with other Italian creators, Fellini had an ongoing love-hatred by the institution that has ruled the lives of Italians for centuries.

"Fellini's Roma" was a great creation by Federico Fellini. It is as important as some of the other films because it captured the soul of the city Fellini loved so much. This was possible because of the images cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, a amazing photographer of many of the director's work. Nino Rota's musical score is also an asset in the film. The cast is enormous to single out anyone, they all contribute to make this film a tribute to Rome, the eternal city.
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Fellini effortlessly blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction
lasttimeisaw12 November 2015
Fellini's ROMA imposingly alternates between two paralleled narratives in Rome, his salad days during the WWII and the beginning of 1970s, when he is an eminent filmmaker making a new film about the city, erratically charts its local customs and folk culture to pay homage to an ancient and great city. Structurally, the film doesn't stick to a linear one, instead it disguises with a pseudo-documentary style, in fact, most of the scenes were re-constructed in Cinecittà, however, Fellini stuns audience again with his majestic undertaking which significantly blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.

The film is not just an ode to the city, more prominently, it is the clashes between past and present that reverberate strongly today. His young self (played by Falcon), a doe-eyed townie arrives in Rome for college, enjoys a boisterous dinner in the street trattoria with the entire neighbourhood, watches a shoddy variety show with crude spectators which would be interrupted by an air raid, flirts with the brothel for the first time; when time leaps forward to the 1970s, the flower-child generation is consuming with alienation and torpidity, a poetic episode of the underground metro construction team encounters an undiscovered catacomb, where fresh air breaches into the isolated space and ruins all its frescoes in a jiffy. A superlative conceit encapsulates the dilemma between modern civilisation and ancient heritage.

There is no absence of Fellini-esque extravaganza, the brothels during wartime are quintessentially embellished with crazed peculiarity and vulgarity for its zeitgeist and national spirit, where sex can be simply traded as commodity without any emotional investment. The most striking one, is the flamboyant fashion-show of church accouterments organised by Princess Domitilla (De Doses) for Cardinal Ottaviani (Giovannoli), consummated in an overblown resurrection of the deceased Pope, it is sacrilege in its most diverting form, only Fellini can shape it with such grand appeal and laugh about it.

Two notable celebrity cameos, Gore Vidal, expresses his love of the city from an expatriate slant, and more poignant one is from Anna Magnani, her final screen presence - Ciao, buonanotte! - a sounding farewell for this fiery cinema icon. The epilogue, riding with a band of motorists, visiting landmarks in the night, Fellini's ROMA breezily captures this city's breath of life, sentimental to its distinguished history, meanwhile vivacious even farcical in celebrating its ever-progressing motions, a charming knockout!
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Whether you like or not, a masterpiece
Margaux29 March 2000
You may or not like Fellini's extravagance ... and there's plenty to be had in "Roma". You may dislike the movie going back and forth in time, and around a period in history which you can't even relate to; you may dislike the lack of plot, the series of episodes from the director's past or fantasies. You may not share his vision of Rome, its women, its chaos, its fascist monuments and its hippies. You may not even be at all interested in Fellini's world and may find his movies, boring, or uninteresting. This one will be no exception, then. Well... After all, we did not all like Citizen Kane either.

For one thing is beyond doubt: Fellini's Roma is a true, genuine, masterpiece, one of the last gems coming out of the relentless, colourful imagination of an Italian director, who from La Strada to Amarcord, in some 15 years of movie-making, was able to concoct classic movies and nothing but. Fellini's Roma is a series of exaggerations (the characters, chaos, the brothels, the nights in Rome...) as Rome can be. It is an absolute tribute to a city one thousand times destroyed, one thousand times reborn, to the "city of illusions" as Gore Vidal puts is. It is above all a tribute to the Romans, who basically "could not care less whether you are alive or dead". And who better to capture this than Federico Fellini?
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Yet another Fellini's masterpiece
cflav26 July 2001
Everything is revolving around Rome in this movie, its beauty, its decadence, its history, its inhabitants, seen with the eyes of our magnificent Maestro: Fellini. The scene of the war-period theatre is one of the funniest of the whole history of cinema and no subtitle can render it in a proper way, you should live in Rome for years to fully appreciate the dialogues. It's worth seeing for the countless characteristic "faces" that Fellini was used to employ for his movies, giving that special taste to his works we are still call "fellinian" nowadays.
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paolodriussi28 May 2005
Roma explores the city of Rome from several different perspectives, giving it a mystical life of its own that hangs in the balance between its rich history and its modern identity. With no real chronology, Roma is a tapestry of bizarre scenes and familiar images that blend together into a gorgeous visual carnival. Typical of Fellini, with the carnival comes a critique--and Roma tears through the city's political and religious history, satirizing the Catholic church and various faces of Italian government from Renaissance times through Mussolini's reign and on into the 1960s. While the camera lavishes affectionately over Rome's art and architecture and is clearly a tribute to the Eternal City, most of the sets in the film are constructed, reinforcing Fellini's narrative imagination and keeping viewers caught in a perpetual contradiction between reality and fantasy, history and the present, fact and fiction.
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There's the myth... there's the reality... and in-between, there's Fellini's "Roma" ...
ElMaruecan8227 August 2013
Whether for literature, theater or any art of storytelling, there can't be a plot without characters to drive it. Yet characters don't imply a specific plot and this might be the area where theater slightly surpasses literature, as an art of 'presence' and 'personalities' mirroring our condition. More than anything, it's a show, an invitation for eyes, for ears, for feelings. And emotions can do without plots.

And here we have Fellini draining his talent from the Antic Roman-Greek tragicomedy, Commedia del' Arte, Opera and maybe more than anything, from his Italian roots so devoted to fun and entertainment. More than any other director, Fellini understood the virtue of Cinema as a new form of theater, a show that doesn't rely on plots or screen writing techniques, he shoots first and we ask the question later. And what a show! Fellini will forever be admired and never equaled, thanks to his unique talent to inhabit his films with unforgettable galleries of characters: eccentric, larger-than-life, decadent, greedy, gluttonous, sensual, ugly, outcast, colorful faces with anonymous names and universal and timeless appeals. These people feel real because they FEEL. And we're so hypnotized by the images that we forget to care about a plot.

My repetition of the word 'plot' is only an anticipation of some rational comments on Fellini's "Roma" or, "Fellini's Roma", I must say. Yes, the film doesn't have a plot, even to those who set their minds for a surrealist tour orchestrated by the ultimate cinematic ringleader, Il Maestro Fellini. Even "8½" chronicled the very process of film-making from the author's boiling mind, even the previous "Fellini's Satyricon" was a take on a myth that had a story to tell, no matter how disjointed it felt. Even the nostalgic vignettes of "Amarcord" made a coherent ensemble, but "Fellini's Roma" has no focus whatsoever.

But does it need one when the scope is so large, when Rome is the main protagonist? Rome... such a myth of a city that it transcends all the periods, visions and artistic possibilities. The film is constantly inhabited by Rome's aura from Fellini's perspective, hence the title. For "Satyricon", it was a legal necessity to distinguish from two films with the same title, to establish Fellini's independence from the original myth. "Roma" similarly establishes Fellini's independence, except that this time, no other vision of Rome could ever compete with Fellini's or approach the town with the same masterful audacity.

Now, why a film about "Rome"? My guess is that it's one of the few privileged cities whose name evoke fascinating contradictions. "Rome is the city of illusions. Not only by chance you have here the church, the government, the cinema. They each produce illusions." This is Gore Vidal speaking in a memorable cameo and it's probably the closest rational conclusion that can come out of this mesmerizing mess. And "illusion" is the key word, whether it's the illusion of church that ignited the faith of generation of Italians without abjuring them from that lust for life and voluptuous bodies so rooted in the Italian lifestyle, for politics that have plunged post-War Italy into the darkness of fascism and yes, even Cinema doesn't escape criticism.

Behind Fellini's eye, Rome oscillates between dazzling magnificence and nightmarish decadence. Fellini appears twice, as a young idealistic man who discovers the town, eats some spaghetti with the population, goes to the music-hall or visits a brothel, and the older real-life Fellini discussing with the new generation of Romans on how to make an accurate portrayal of the city. And it's ironic how nothing changed much between these times, "O Tempora! O Mores", yet Mussolini's Italy was as noisy, lusty and turbulent as in 1972, and ironically, "Roma"'s self-referential aspect illustrates the fact that both embellishment and derision rely on caricatures, the very illusions Fellini admits in his own filmmaking process.

And illusion contributes to the film's most enigmatic moments: a parade of prostitutes tempting their clients, with sensual bodies to better hide the lucid tiredness in their faces, the scene followed by a sort of ecclesiastic fashion contest. Through the intriguing parallel, the iconoclast Maestro doesn't attack church but the myth of virtue that ignores the real sacred Trinity outside the Vatican border: life, love and lust. His fantasy vision works like a missing link between the eternal myth of Roma and reality. When thinking of Roma, we'll either have a vision of the Coliseum, of a fat Italian with huge bosoms serving a large plate of pasta on a summer evening, or maybe a beautiful red-haired and red-dressed woman sensually dancing at the moonlight of a lamppost, perhaps the greatest cinematic allegory of any town.

And if the film works without characters, it does as well without a plot because Rome is that sensual woman with a history, a present, a future and a past. You can't dig a subway tunnel without bumping on archaeological relics hidden in its prolific womb, like a woman who hasn't revealed all her secrets. And one of the most poignant moments occurs when engineers find Antic frescoes in a tunnel, preserved just as if they were painted the day before, before oxygen destroys them instantly. That's the price you pay when you have a clear glimpse on reality, imagining how Romans were would have been more salutary for its (or her) own history. And this is the power of imagination, of illusion over reality or any myth of grandeur.

No need for a plot when you have such a wonderful protagonist that encapsulates all the values Italians will forever stand for, and who more entitled than Fellini to share with us a part of his vision? And no need for specific characters when you have the Italians. A famous Italian actor, if I recall correctly, said something like "In Italy, there are about thirty millions actors, the rest of the population star in movies". This quote could have been the film's tag-line.
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With Fellini there is no need for a "plot".
emuir-131 December 2004
Fellini's films are a collection of unforgettable images, rather like reading through a photo magazine in a foreign language - you don't need to know the language to understand the pictures. The subtitles can be turned off and you can still follow one stunning vignette after another. Best of all, this film can be watched over and over because you will see something new or interpret it a different way each time.

Rome is seen as a carnival and the people are the freaks, carneys and revellers. Rome has been a great city for over 2,000 years and was once THE city - the center of the world. One cannot imagine New York in 1,800 years time, and certainly not Washington. The film shows the evolution of that great city into a noisy, overcrowded, modern-day nightmare of chaotic traffic, circling around the ancient ruins. Life goes on. We all turn to dust, but others come to take our place.

The most unforgettable image for me was the ecclesiastical fashion show as gaudy and vulgar as anything Ken Russell could dream up. My biggest problem was with the subtitles. Somehow I doubt that the viewers of Fellini's film choose to use vulgar American slang.
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martin-hert20 January 2004
One of my all time favourites. My dearest Fellini. Still breathtaking cinema. A celebration of some thousand years in history of a major capital, once the center of the world. You can feel the athmosphere touching you. Nino Rotas music is a masterpiece of it's own - listen carefully. Definately a "must-see" over and over again and therefore a "must-have".
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A wonderfully colourful and dazzling spectacle
GEOHOD27 December 2004
As I already knew this film was virtually plot less I had not been expecting a great deal from Fellini, but I was given more than a great deal. Fellini sets out on an almost mythical journey through the shocking but wonderfully real City of Rome as he remembers partly as a boy and as a young adult. You could be mistaken for thinking that Fellini was criticising Rome but he is actually praising its vibrancy in a way in which only he can. There is no plot to speak of, just an array of both gritty characters and breathtaking backdrops. I am not surprised that this film has a relatively low rating because most viewers would feel that for a film a plot is essential. However in my opinion Fellini demonstrates that a plot is not always needed to make a film enjoyable, funny and gripping, as he showed with his brilliant account of his growing up in Amarcord. I would definitely urge you to see Fellini's Roma, as it is not an unbelievable storyline, but a pure film, which will grip you with its continuous vibrancies. 9/10
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A guide to Roma, Fellini style, go see it!
Atavisten6 April 2005
Whereas a film like 'Bueno Vista Social Club' depicts a poor city in a charming and loving way this depicts the not so charming aspects of a relatively rich city, still with lots of heart and irony though. We get several episodes in this non-documentary like one about traffic, one about whorehouses, one about peaceful hippies being beaten by the police, one about the digging of tunnels for the metro system and so on. There is a frame story about Fellini, first about the young Fellini learning about the old Roma, then about how Roma is now, its not so important, but its well integrated into the whole story and shows how personal this film is.

We get bombarded with the rude, the noisy and the chaos, as usual for Fellini a lots of things are happening all the time so don't watch it while not up and awake so to speak. The implications are many, the comments likewise. Its never sentimental, but it still opts for change.

Wait a minute, isn't the Vatican in Roma(in double sense)? Well, check for yourself.
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Eternal City
stormhawk202020 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Millennial Rome, which has witnessed eras and eras, which has seen so many generations of human beings passing and has contemplated its greatness and its ignominy, continues standing, resurfacing constantly from its ashes, rising upon itself again and again. Who doubts that Rome is touched by the grace of the venerable and of what endures in the midst of chaos and change? It will not last forever, and someday it will be lost along with all that is here, the living and the inert ... But we can say that we have lived and lived, and Rome will have seen part of the parade of the aeons. Fellini, one of the most exalted, controversial and experimental film directors of the twentieth century, hunts to perfection that heroic resistance of the city, its halo of eternity coupled with daily life. Because Fellini was able to transfer to the celluloid, with that genius that is only granted to a few, the cyclical course of time, outlining with concrete lines concrete epochs and behaviors and lifestyles that strongly identify the Italian people and, by extension, what We are all in essence. Fellini always gets us to recognize ourselves in some gesture, some custom, some way of thinking, some way of conceiving life. Fellini was a philanthropist who loved every frame he shot, every bit of throbbing life that was etched into every inch of film. In short, he was able to capture his entire life in an instant. Wishing to pay his particular homage to his beloved Rome, his intimate Rome as well as universal Rome, Fellini filmed a testimony midway between documentary and autobiography, a historic, endearing, raw, sordid, painful and joyful legacy that perhaps Is one of the most realistic, surreal and beautiful films that have been filmed on the Eternal City.

There is no more protagonist than the city itself and everything it contains. Through a few leaps in time, Fellini takes the camera through various places and enters the heart of the city, capturing the environments warmed by the severe heat of the Mediterranean, crowded with people of all conditions: resigned housewives loaded with children Crying and mischievous; Speechless men and brawlers; Entire families who rested from the hard daily chores at the movies and those Sunday dinners on the overcrowded restaurant terraces; Prostitutes who expose and punish their charms in a fleshly sale of meat; People who make a living acting in variety shows before a suburban and provocative public; The numerous teams of workers who left their skin in the titanic works of the Roman subway, a very complicated task hampered by the continuous discovery of archaeological remains in the strata buried beneath the city; The chaotic traffic, another protagonist more of the crowded city; Television crews and journalists who register their exuberant spirit; People of the high aristocracy slaughtered by the nostalgia of past splendor, already buried; The clergy, represented by its maximum figure, the Supreme Pontiff ... From surrealism to the most cruel realism, from the tenderness of the simplest to the ruthless coldness of war, from the beautiful to the grotesque, from praise to satire and ridicule, from pessimism to optimism, from the past until the present... Everything is concentrated in that Rome that laughs and cries and that breathes and that moves without ceasing. Who laments for the irretrievable, for the trampled vestiges of times that preceded us, for the ingratitude of time and neglect. Who shudders at the many human pains, unable to remain indifferent. What a fuss with the children's games. That ignites with unleashed passions. He is ashamed of the unthinkable and shameful. She prides herself. It beats at the rate of tachycardia. That is carried away by the hope of knowing that it will continue to dawn. Rome, the Eternal City, an explosive gift for the soul and the senses concentrated in two hours shot by a master who knew how to x- ray the carnality of the spirits.
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one of the best non-fiction films ever
dromasca12 April 2008
This is not a fiction movie. it needs to be seen with a different perspective. This is a movie about a city, one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world. Fellini describes here the city, his feelings about it, his memories, the history and the people who live in it. One needs to look at this film like looking at a painting of an old master, not like at a fiction film. Then what is exposed to the viewer is a the full world of characters, some of them appearing on screen for a few seconds but stay in memory forever. It is the landscape of today, the memories and the history, the history that when touched by the air of the present melts under our own eyes as it happens in the fabulous underground scene. From the many films of Fellini this is one of the most personal, and a touching one. I loved it.
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Captivating from the start
christopher-underwood25 March 2017
I couldn't help thinking, during one of the rare quiet moments of this extravaganza, how wonderful it would have been if directors with the style, ability and panache of Fellini, could have made such a film about their own capital city. What an archive we would then have had to gaze upon in wonder as we do here, at Rome. Captivating from the start this visual and plot less but loving portrait takes us on a journey through the director's eyes. Although there is no plot and this is more documentary we do begin with fictionalised titbits from Fellini's childhood and his subsequent arrival in Rome. There are fantastic sequences that swirl around street diners and street furniture and traffic. Not perhaps how I would choose to eat but so convincingly Italian. The same with impressions of entertainment halls and brothels, not to forget the moving underground scenes, all shot so immaculately and with such stunning accompanying music. Towards the end Fellini allows himself a rather large poke at the Catholic church and the pope with an amazingly over the top ecclesiastical fashion show that even outdoes the works of our own Ken Russell. Fabulous and exciting with barely a pause for breath.
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Pure genius
ersbel22 January 2012
I have accidentally stumbled upon this film. I have watched his known masterpieces and liked them very much. But this is something special. This really breaks with the common use for film as a simple way to illustrate an epic story and goes beyond. Something achieved only by few, say Akira Kurosawa in Yume / Dreams. This is also unique as far as I know because the main / only character is a city. That has been tried even in the recent years with Paris, je t'aime, but they failed. Sure, if your kind of entertainment is Xmen Meet Rambo to Kill the Out-of-space Infidels you can bet you are going to be bored out of your head. Otherwise this is worth every minute of the two hours. And every time you get to see it more details and symbols are going to reveal themselves.

Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @
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A rare almost forgotten masterwork
alienworlds30 November 2009
This is my all around favourite film, although I like SF and Horror films also, this film, despite it being over 35 years old, still carries a powerful feeling to it-to me. It shows Rome through the eyes of someone who has seen it maybe for what it really is- a thoroughly confused and maze like place where things don't happen in any kind of an order, events just fall on top of one another, and you are left to sift through the mess in the hope of finding what you went there for in the first place. The film is a unique depiction of European society that is not seen anymore for the most part in this age of perfect films with perfect people having perfectly orchestrated experiences that are always just slightly left of mainstream with heavy nods to normal, which I think does not reflect the true nature of what it is to be a struggling human on this planet. This filmmaker has the balls to criticize the Roman Catholic Church, which he does in this film, showing them as mindless glory hounds, instead of the way they are mostly depicted in 99 percent of films. Roma is also crude in places, more so than what you might expect from a film made in 1972.
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Viva Roma!
lee_eisenberg5 August 2005
With "Roma", Federico Fellini continues his deliberately bizarre saga. In this case, he gives a kaleidoscopic view of the Eternal City, from his youth to adulthood. A particularly funny scene is what happens while the schoolmaster is showing the boys slides of the Sistine Chapel, and then what the girl does in the theater. Fellini also shows the political climate (Fascism was ever present in Italy back then). But regardless of anything, "Roma" is a great movie, if only because of what we see, including the catacombs.

The Catholic Church sure must have gotten irked by some of the things that Fellini portrayed in his movies.
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Entertaining 'documentary' style film of Rome 30 yrs ago !
skulli9917 August 2002
Even though lacking a plot, this part documentary/comedy film is really a mosaic of impressions of Rome, from when Federico Fellini first arrived during the 2nd world war, to scenes of Rome in the early 1970's. Personally I think Fellini's best films are the partly biographical ones,and this film is among Fellini's best ! The film is divided into mosaics or sections. Each section or 'mosaic' lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, and really is all about real life experiences of Fellini's Rome, filmed in slightly surreal, 'arty' style, dealing with the human element of Romes working class who nearly speak in the local vernacular or dialect 'li Romanaaccio', and because of that some scenes are really hilarious! (Except for the last section about the priest's/cardinals high fashion really boring, but very surealistic). The most grottesque is the visit to the hore-house by young Federico Fellini, as it was like during the wartime...horrible,surrealistic,and a little bit sad ! The section on the comedy theatre is the most funny and famous(the most famous scene: an irate spectator throws a live cat to a comedian making a poor preformance,to the ilarity of the audience !).

The section gives an affectionate view of the Italian comedy/vaudeville theater between the two world wars called "avan-spettacolo" (before the show).Infact,before any film was shown in Italy the cinema would entertain the restless crowds with vaudeville type shows,comedy,magic and singing(usually skimply dressed women).These shows evolved into something well established so the films were shown elsewhere !! Many of Italy's best actors/actresses came from this background,where they had to do a hard apprenticeship,under the guidance of a master actor !Only after 5-10 years apprenticeship, could they finally aspire to be "avan-spettacolo" stars !

This explains why Italy's best actors/actresses were the 1950's /1960's stars of the Italian cinema,of which the most loved is Alberto Sordi.Here are the names of some these stars...Gianni Agus,Macario,Ugo Tognazzi,Marcello Mastroianni,Walter Chiari,Paolo Stoppa,Aldo Fabrizzi,Toto.....the list is endless..........all great actors, ...and I must say the Italian actors of today are a poor imitation ! No wonder !!,... they have no experience,but alot of pretensions,bordering on arrogance !! My vote for the film 8.
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Disconnected Edition of Footages of the Eternal City
claudio_carvalho11 March 2014
"Roma" is a feature with neither plot nor timeline and composed by an edition of disconnected footages of Rome, the Eternal City.

Fellini makes a homage to Rome and depicts and entwines moments of the ancient and the modern Rome, such as during the fascist period of Mussolini; building the subway; in a traffic jam; a fashion show for the Church members; brothels with clients and prostitutes on display; repression; ordinary people on the streets and restaurants. For fans of Fellini and Rome, this movie may be a must-see; otherwise, it may be boring and too long.

My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Roma de Fellini" ("Fellini's Roma")
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Fellini's Roma is for those with a lot of patience and respect for Fellini.
crow-5013 January 2000
Every film director should have the chance to indulge in their fantasies and films are fantasies projected on the big screen. However, Fellini's Roma is not a film for everyone and in order to enjoy this non-linear extravaganza, you must have a lot of patience and it doesn't hurt to be a fan of Fellini's work.

For those who do have patience, you can learn a little about Rome (although Fellini's Rome) and biographical information about the filmmaker. Although don't quote him, he does tend to reinvent his past from time to time. >

The Papacy fashion show shouldn't be missed nor should the scenes that portray Rome in the 1940's. But for those who lack the patience, but still like Fellini, check out Amarcord instead.
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A brash, bawdy love letter to a city of illusions
eerwicker18 August 2019
Roma is more of a visual essay than a conventional film; in place of a narrative there's a series of vignettes - some from Fellini's own childhood during the Mussolini regime, others set in the 70s as he returns to the Rome to make a movie. Throughout, it teems with life and gaudy imagery - like the city itself, it's a film that contains multitudes.

The key section follows Fellini's camera crew as they drive into the city during a rainstorm, filming the highway from a truck-mounted crane, painting Rome in apocalyptic colours. Clearly, the camera is Fellini's higher power but the film depicts other forces that have exerted control - the Catholic church, the fascists, the brothel keepers, the theatre showmen. And in the end, Fellini's movie gang is just the latest barbarian invasion of Rome - which we also also beset by Allied bombing raids, migrations from the country, and modern-day arrivals of glitterati, counterculture kids and biker gangs. It's a portrait of the city as a living thing, constantly covering and uncovering and (in one surreal set piece which follows a crew digging a railway tunnel, literally) erasing its history.

If that makes Roma sound dry, it's not. It's a joyous piece of work, full of farcical interludes, song and dance numbers, bordello romps, unruly street scenes and a Vatican satire where the latest lines in religious garb is paraded in a grotesque fashion show. Lucky Rome to have a Fellini to film it, and lucky us to see the results.
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