7.6/10
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And the Ship Sails On (1983)

E la nave va (original title)
In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Federico Fellini (story), Tonino Guerra (story) | 2 more credits »
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11 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Jones ... Orlando
Barbara Jefford ... Ildebranda Cuffari
Victor Poletti Victor Poletti ... Aureliano Fuciletto
Peter Cellier ... Sir Reginald J. Dongby
Elisa Mainardi ... Teresa Valegnani
Norma West ... Lady Violet Dongby Albertini
Paolo Paoloni ... Il Maestro Albertini
Sarah-Jane Varley Sarah-Jane Varley ... Dorotea
Fiorenzo Serra Fiorenzo Serra ... Il Granduca
Pina Bausch ... La Principessa Lherimia
Pasquale Zito Pasquale Zito ... Il Conte di Bassano
Linda Polan Linda Polan ... Ines Ruffo Saltini
Philip Locke ... Il Primo Ministro
Jonathan Cecil ... Ricotin
Maurice Barrier ... Ziloev
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Storyline

In July 1914 a luxury cruise ship leaves Italy with the ashes of the famous opera singer Tetua. The boat is filled with her friends, opera singers, actors and all kinds of exotic people. Life is sweet the first days, but on the third day the captain has to save a a large number of Serbian refugees from the sea, refugees who has escaped the first tremors of WWI. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

singer | opera | refugee | sea | ship | See All (17) »

Genres:

Drama | History | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | German | Serbian | Russian

Release Date:

7 October 1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

And the Ship Sails On See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The English language dubbing was supervised by director Mike Hodges, who was recommended to director Federico Fellini by Stanley Kubrick. See more »

Quotes

Sir Reginald J. Dongby: [when asked about the Grand Duke's age] Judging by his political competence, I'd say he's 8 years-old.
See more »


Soundtracks

Impromptu in F minor op.142 no.4
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fellini magics strangeness into an overworked subject.
30 July 1999 | by alice liddellSee all my reviews

When younger, I was a Fellini obsessive - I adored the excess, the humour, the grotesquerie, the sympathetic comedie humaine, the audacious visuals, the beautiful, sad, lonely Marcello Mastroianni. For some reason I hadn't seen one of his pictures for a while, and while his astounding images remained inviolable in my mind's private cinema, the gradual, repeated decline of his critical status made me tread fearfully into this nautical drama.

It is clearly his worst film. It always threatens to break into a frenzied dance of the Id, like his best pictures, but never quite does. The acting is generally poor, the dubbing atrocious; the ideas seem to cancel each other out in an aimless mess. Fellini's style is more restrained than usual, with a greater, seemingly restricted, emphasis on content composition and montage. It is clearly the work of a jaded Maestro.

And yet it contains more life, wit and magic than most films this year, and, needless to say, it is less silly than Titanic. The story (a group of mourners carrying the body of a celebrated opera singer on a huge liner as World War I breaks out) is open to many allegorical interpretations (ship as nation, empire, class, art, life etc.), none of which quite fit. There is much play on images of moon (Claire de lune tinkles throughout), tides and sunsets - possibly as motifs of decline, but also of the ever-continuing circle that is its opposite, life?

The film's tone is ambivalent, nostalgic for an elegant age of art and beauty, yet coldly aware of its inhuman faults. This is epitomised by the trademark Fellini altar ego, a journalist/film narrator, who watches the mixture of tragedy and farce with an amused eye, yet desperately wants to belong, and share in its faded grandeur.

There are wonderful set-pieces, and graceful, Kubrickian camera movements. The narrative and characterisation is constantly splintered, mocking the desire of the passengers for order and rank. Imperial folly is angrily lampooned, culminating in a remarkable burlesque dogfight, stylised as a Verdi opera, yielding, in impotent terror, the Force of Destiny.

The classical music soundtrack initially seems bland and uninventive, but actually offers, once identified, a stunning, ironic commentary on the actions, pretensions, sadnesses and failures of the characters and the society they represent. The party scene with the Serbs is very moving - loaded with the mixture of anger and regret that constitute the film's heart.

The self-reflexivity does not patronise the audience for giving into illusion - the film's 'reality' is in question from the beginning. Film is shown not to be a modern weapon of the future (cinema as an art-form emerged at around the same time as the film was set), but merely a skip for the bricolage of Europe and the past. This pessimism, though, is not despairing - there is great beauty in loss.


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