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Image Entertainment presents
The Magic of Fellini (2001)

"Dreams are the only reality."
- Federico Fellini

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: January 25, 2004

Stars: Federico Fellini, Giuletta Massina, Nino Rota, Marcello Mastroianni, Anthony Quinn, Claudia Cardinale, Anita Ekberg, Donald Sutherland, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Lina Wertmuller, Paul Mazursky, Ettore Scola, Giuseppe Tornatore
Director: Carmen Piccini

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:55m:18s
Release Date: January 27, 2004
UPC: 014381104127
Genre: documentary

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B BB-C+ D-

DVD Review

Is there any filmmaker who deserves a valentine more than Federico Fellini? This overview of the career of arguably the greatest Italian film director is less an exhaustive biographical study, and more of a celebration of the man and his movies. At times it feels like one of those extended Oscar night montages; you may find yourself a little at sea if you've never seen any of Fellini's films, but if you have, it's an opportunity to see some brief clips, and hear Fellini's collaborators and biggest fans reminisce about il dirretoro. (The documentary was produced in 2001; Fellini died in 1993.) It's also the only disc I know of that features footage from one of the great Fellini films yet to make it to DVD, mired in some sort of copyright confusion: La Dolce Vita.

Some of the big stars are here, of course, including Anthony Quinn, discussing La Strada, which Dino De Laurentiis told him to pass on; Claudia Cardinale on 8 1/2, and the delicacy of Fellini's touch as a director; and Anita Ekberg (who needs either a new makeup artist or a new plastic surgeon, or both), on La Dolce Vita: "I said to my agent, 'This man is crazy!'" There are a handful of nuggets of life on the set—the famous Trevi Fountain scene in La Dolce Vita was shot in the winter, for instance, and Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni had to be heated up between takes; and there are a few bits of behind-the-scenes production footage, featuring the director, in his cheery way, letting one of his actors have it: "Up you're a**! How come you're so stupid?" (Actually, from Fellini, this is almost charming.)

Also on hand are many of the members of Fellini's production team, including De Laurentiis; Tullio Pinelli, a sometime collaborator on Fellini's screenplays; Lina Wertmuller, once Fellini's assistant, prior to her own directing career; and Charlotte Chandler, who wrote I, Fellini, the director's putative autobiography. There are brief celebrations, too, of Mastroianni, Fellini's favorite leading man; of Giuletta Massina, both as a marvelous actress and as Signora Fellini; and of Nino Rota, whose music is inextricable from Fellini's pictures.

The hour winds up with some of the director's biggest fans, and those on whom he had a tremendous professional influence: Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Roberto Benigni (who seriously needs to switch to decaf), Giuseppe Tornatore. This isn't necessarily the most edifying hour on film history you'll ever watch, but it's surely one of the most joyous. Ciao bello, Federico.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: There are some resolution problems—Dino De Laurentiis's silk jacket shines like a glowworm—but the clips from Fellini's features look pretty fair, and are all presented in their original aspect ratios.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: A fairly clean transfer, from a variety of source material; the music may be a little overemphasized in the mix, but then again, there's nothing wrong with revisiting some of Nino Rota's best work.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Nothing but chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

A warm, brief overview to the great man of Italian cinema, this DVD is likely to send you scurrying back to the store for others, to revel still further in Fellini's world.


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