Sunday, November 9, 2008
I don't think I had a sense until recently just how delightful Fellini could be. I tended to lump him in with more pretentious art house guys, even though I love 8 1/2 and it's a pretty fun movie. Maybe it's because up until recently, the only other one I had seen was La Dolce Vita, which I guess some people find fun, but I found all the characters to be insufferable. This year, for my K2K, I saw Nights of Cabiria and half of Amarcord (gonna finally finish that some day soon) and got a whole new conception of the man.
Guilietta Masina (Fellini's wife) reached unfathomable levels of adorability in Nights of Cabiria, and she's pretty much at that same level of lovable-ness here. This is an almost fable-istic tale of a young girl who becomes the assistant for a cruel roadshow strongman. They eventually join a circus, and she falls in love with a tightrope walker, which creates conflicts with the strongman. It's strange, magical stuff, and seemed on track to be a great one, but I felt unsatisfied with the last act. There's kind of an abrupt twist near the end, and then the final scenes follow the strongman instead of the girl. Problem is, the girl is character we've really been following and caring about the whole time, so we're less than moved by the final scenes focusing on the strongman. Overall it's still a good one, but it fell short of greatness.