Juliet of the Spirits

by Federico Fellini

Review of the film and Criterion DVD by Gary W. Tooze

Viewers of Federico Fellini's 1965 "Juliet of the Spirits" are melded into two visually splendid worlds. We are exposed to both unrestrained artistic affectations of a bourgeoisie lifestyle, later to be heavily representative of the directors style, and a delusional universe of a woman who recoils into fantasy, unable to deal with her impending marital divide.

In the character Juliet, we see a compliant wife who continually forgives her husband Giorgio's selfish shortcomings such as forgetting their wedding anniversary. Regardless, she seems content in her own world surrounded by domestic staff, and an entourage of eclectic friends and neighbors. However, one night her suspicions of her husbands infidelity are hinted at by a parlor psychic at a get-together at her home. The stress proves too much for Juliet and she passes out.

A similar, if more elaborate ritualistic encounter occurs a few days later when a bizarre eastern mystic once again confirms the marital discord, blaming her for Giorgio's roving eye.  She is still disbelieving and attempts to prove the accusations false and hires a very thorough private investigation agency who, a week later, callously inform her of the sordid details. Juliet now seems quiet, sad and accepting on her external persona but starts to avoid the harsh reality of the situation using her fertile imagination as a coping mechanism..

Juliet is played by Fellini's wife, Palm D'or winning actress, Guilietta Masina. Comparatively to the surrounding ensemble cast, she plays by far the most conservative character in the film in both attitude and stylish yet understated wardrobe. Undeniably though, she can still carry the film with her bright, receptive eyes... expressing Juliet's demeanor with a simple furrowed brow or shy smile.

The film bursts forth with bright colors and contemporary and nostalgic imagery of children playing, nature's beauty and the harmonious  warmth of friendly parties. Like future Fellini offerings, one can watch and enjoy, separating themselves from the story and allowing the interesting imagery to take over. Another of his enduring values in cinema history.

From his background as a cartoonist Fellini utilizes his unique command of exhibition and fantasy  with full force in this his first color film. The rich images are so friendly and expressive making it quite easy to attain the level of comfort and relaxation Fellini must certainly have been attempting to convey. His scenes skirt fearlessly between Juliet's daily exploits and her budding imagination, alternating between dream-like reality and the clouded diverse fantasies of her childhood and beyond.  

In one of the final scenes, Juliet's Mother appears as an apparition fulfilling the title characters unspoken opinion of her as a demanding, icy princess further enhancing the impossible expectations she has put on her daughter throughout her life.

With the reminiscent "Nights of Cabiria" musical theme playing almost nonchalantly in the background, the film ends with Juliet freeing herself from the confines of her out-of-control imagination as well as the marital home. She strolls through the front gate into the splendid magnificence of the adjoining forest. As all great artists, Fellini leaves us to interpret this conclusion in the variety of personal ways. Is this the conclusive fate for a lonely, aging, soon-to-be spinster? , or perhaps has she broken through the stress of her imminent emotional breakdown and overcome her mental delusions? or has she gone through the finals stages of emotional stress and mentally snapped ?

 

Perhaps one of my favorite of Fellini's films if only for the appeared restraint to adhere to the narrative while still allowing his cinematically explosive spectacle to appear in dynamic force on the screen. It is masterful and I give it out of

FILM and DVD Details

With a new and improved restoration and sub-title transfer Criterion has done it again with this DVD by bringing a masterful directors vision of beauty to a heightened new level within the medium. The disc includes a trailer and 20 minutes interview with Fellini where the master director relates experiences on LSD 25. I found it quite fascinating and the disc colors and clarity marvelous out of .

         

 

Full Cast and Crew for
Giulietta degli spiriti (1965) 


Directed by 
Federico Fellini 

Writing credits (in credits order) 
Federico Fellini (screenplay) 
Federico Fellini (story) 
Ennio Flaiano 
Tullio Pinelli (screenplay) 
Tullio Pinelli (story) 
Brunello Rondi 

Cast (in credits order) 
Giulietta Masina .... Juliet 
Sandra Milo .... Suzy 
Mario Pisu .... Giorgio, Juliet's husband 
Valentina Cortese .... Valentina 
José Luis de Villalonga .... Giorgio's friend (as José De Villalonga) 
Caterina Boratto .... Juliet's Mother 
Frederick Ledebur .... Medium (as Fredrich Ledebur) 
Sylva Koscina .... Sylva 
Luisa Della Noce .... Adele 
Valeska Gert .... Pijma 
Lou Gilbert .... Grandfather 
Silvana Jachino .... Dolores 
Milena Vukotic .... Elisabeta, the maid 
Fred Williams (I) .... Lynx-Eyes' Agent 
Dany París .... Desperate Friend 
Anne Francine .... Psychoanalyst 
rest of cast listed alphabetically 
Inna Alexeievna .... Susy's Grandmother (uncredited) 
George Ardisson .... Dolores' Model (uncredited) 
Alba Cancellieri .... Juliet as a Child (uncredited) 
Yvonne Casadei .... Susy's Maid (uncredited) 
Mario Conocchia .... Headmaster (uncredited) 
Dina De Santis .... Susy's Maid (uncredited) 
Rosella De Sepio .... Granddaughter (uncredited) 
Bob Edwards (III) .... Dolores' Model (uncredited) 
Helen Fondra .... Elena (uncredited) 
Felice Fulchignoni .... Family Lawyer (uncredited) 
Gilberto Galvani .... Susy's Chauffeur (uncredited) 
Genius .... Valentina's Lover (uncredited) 
Sabrina Gigli .... Granddaughter (uncredited) 
Hildegarde Golez .... Susy's Maid (uncredited) 
Elisabetta Gray .... Juliet's Maid (uncredited) 
Raffaele Guida .... Arabian Prince (uncredited) 
Walter Harrison (I) .... Don Raffaele (uncredited) 
Claudie Lange (uncredited) 
Alessandra Mannoukine .... Susy's Mother (uncredited) 
Nadir Moretti .... Model (uncredited) 
Cesarino Miceli Picardi .... Friend of Giorgio (uncredited) 
Alberto Plebani .... Lynx-Eyes (uncredited) 
Remo Risaliti .... Lynx-Eyes' Agent (uncredited) 
Asoka Rubener .... Bhisma's Helper (uncredited) 
Sujata Rubener .... Bhisma's Helper (uncredited) 
Grillo Rufino .... Bhisma's Helper (uncredited) 
Massimo Sarchielli .... Dolores' Model (uncredited) 
Seyna Seyn .... Masseuse (uncredited) 
Marilù Tolo (uncredited) 
Edoardo Torricella .... Russian Teacher (uncredited) 
Federico Valli .... Lynx-Eyes' Agent (uncredited) 

Produced by 
Angelo Rizzoli .... producer 

Original music by 
Nino Rota 

Cinematography by 
Gianni Di Venanzo 

Film Editing by 
Ruggero Mastroianni 

Production Design by 
Piero Gherardi 

Set Decoration by 
Giantito Burchiellaro 
Luciano Ricceri 
E. Benazzi Taglietti 

Costume Design by 
Piero Gherardi 

Makeup Department 
Otello Fava (II) .... makeup artist 
Emilio Trani .... makeup artist 

Other crew 
Carlo Savina .... musical director 
DVD Technical Information

Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment
Theatrical Release Date: January 1, 1965
DVD Release Date: March 12, 2002
Run Time: 137 minutes
Production Company: Home Vision Entertainment
Package Type: Keep Case

Aspect Ratio(s):
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: All Regions
Layers: Dual
Available Audio Tracks: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
Available subtitles: English

Edition Details:
• All Regions
• Color, Widescreen
• Theatrical trailer(s)
• New digital transfer
• New & improved English subtitle translation
Familiar Spirits, a 19-minute interview with Fellini by Ian Dallas
• Widescreen anamorphic format

 


 

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