Tag Archives: Federico Fellini

Big Screen Berkeley: Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits
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What is Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits (Giulietta degli spiriti) all about? Even after multiple viewings, I’m not entirely sure — but perhaps its meaning is immaterial. Screening at Pacific Film Archive this Saturday, July 14th at 6:00 pm, it’s a visual feast that will send the right side of your brain into paroxysms of ecstasy while the left side struggles to determine the filmmaker’s intent.

Appearing as part of the Archive’s series, ‘Bellissima: Leading Ladies of the Italian Screen’, Juliet of the Spirits marked a significant turning point in Fellini’s career. The salt of the earth realism of his early efforts (I Vitelloni, Nights of Cabiria) had already given way to cerebral examinations of bourgeois conceit (La Dolce Vita, 8 ½), but with Juliet, Fellini began a long-term journey into deeply surreal waters.

The director’s wife, muse, and frequent collaborator Giulietta Masina stars as the title character, a middle-aged woman torn between dedication to her husband Giorgio (Mario Pisu) and the desire for something more from life. Hiding her feelings behind a perpetual Mona Lisa smile and an array of wide brimmed haute couture hats, Juliet no longer finds fulfillment lounging on the beach and planning social occasions. … Continue reading »

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