Marcello is in the compartment of an Italian train, facing forward when the mineral water of the woman seated across from him starts to fall toward him. He catches the bottle and makes eye contact and follows her when she leaves the compartment. For a few moments she finds him attractive too. Then suddenly she gets off the train and starts walking through a field. Marcello follows her, loses her, finds himself in a large hotel surrounded by women. A feminist conference is taking place and he tries to escape.Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
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Fellini does feminism.
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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