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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

City of Women aka La cittą delle donne [Blu-ray]


(, 1980)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Gaumont

Video: Eureka - Masters of Cinema - Spine #53  / Cohen Media



Region: 'B'-locked / Region 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:19:21.000  / 2:19:39.871

Disc Size: 46,279,664,168 bytes / 44,852,152,196 bytes

Feature Size: 34,748,824,128 bytes  / 33,213,364,224 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps  / 29.78 Mbps

Chapters: 13  / 15

Case: Standard Blu-ray case (both)

Release date: February 25th, 2013  / May 31st, 2016


Video (both):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Dolby Digital Audio Italian 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps


Subtitles (both):

English, none



A Dream of Women, a 31-minute documentary on the making of the film (30:25 in 1080P)
• Notes on CITY OF WOMEN, a 61-minute documentary about Fellini’s film (1:00:18 in 1080P)
• Dante Ferretti: A Builder of Dreams, a 22-minute documentary about the great production designer behind the film (21:20 in 1080P)
• A 12-minute video piece with filmmaker Tinto Brass discussing the picture (11:07 in 1080P)
• The original Italian and French theatrical trailers (3:37 / 1:27 in 1080P)
• Substantial booklet containing writing on the film, vintage excerpts, and rare archival imagery

A Dream of Women, a documentary on the making of the film (30:30 in 1080P)
• Interview with production designer Dante Ferretti entitled A Builder of Dreams, a documentary about the great production designer behind the film (21:24 in 1080P)
• A 12-minute video piece with filmmaker Tinto Brass discussing the picture (11:10 in 1080P)
• The original Italian, French and re-release theatrical trailers (3:41 / 1:39 / 1:30 in 1080P)
• 8-page leaflet



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM


Description: Federico Fellini’s epic 1980 fantasia introduced the start of the Maestro’s delirious late period. A surrealist tour-de-force filmed on soundstages and locations alike, and overflowing with the same sensory (and sensual) invention heretofore found only in the classic movie-musicals (and Fellini’s own oeuvre), La cittą delle donne [City of Women] taps into the era’s restless youth-culture, coalescing into nothing less than Fellini’s post-punk opus.
Marcello Mastroianni appears as Fellini’s alter ego in a semi-reprise of his character from 8-1/2, Snąporaz. As though passing into a dream, the charismatic avatar finds himself initiated into a phantasmagoric world where women — or an idea of women — have taken power, and which is structured like an array of psychosexual set-pieces — culminating in a bravura hot-air balloon that decisively sticks the “anti” up into “climax”.

A great adventure “through the looking-glass,” as it were, of Fellini’s own phallic lens and life-long libidinal ruminations, La cittą delle donne sharply divided critics at the 1980 Festival de Cannes, some of whom had merely anticipated a nostalgic retread of the earlier Mastroianni works. What they were greeted with, and what remains today, is, in the words of Serge Daney, “a victory of cinema”. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present La cittą delle donne on Blu-ray and DVD in Gaumont’s glorious new HD restoration.



In a railway coach Snąporaz (Marcello Mastroianni) wakes from a nap and seduces a beautiful stranger. Then he follows her through a forest to a weird hotel where a feminist convention is being held. He is so unnerved by the vociferous hostility of the militants that he hides in the mansion of a female killer who has wooed and won a thousand hearts. Snąporaz will be forced to run the gauntlet before waking up and realizing that his adventure was only a crazy nightmare. Fellini s surrealistic and over the top fantasy earned him four Silver Ribbons by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.



The Film:

In this dream-sequence film, renowned Italian director Federico Fellini expounds at length on the nature, complexities,... attitudes, and hang-ups of women and how this all relates to men "hunting" sexual conquests. Snaporaz (Marcello Mastroianni) is traveling in a compartment on a train when he lapses into sleep and dreams the ensuing story. He follows a woman off the train and through a field and then loses her. Soon, as a representative of the male sex in general he finds himself in a hotel, among myriad women attending a feminist conference. Surreal episodes take him through a villa with his alter-ego Dr. Katzone (Ettore Manni, who died during filming) and references to his sexual exploits. Reunited with his former wife for a moment, he starts another sequence which reviews his past.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Will Fellini ever learn to count beyond eight and a half? As Snaporaz (a discreetly ageing Mastroianni, still the alter egoist and flattering mirror image of his director) dozes off in a train to be whisked through a nightmare of ultra-militant feminism, here we are again on that familiar gaudy treadmill of Barnum and ballet, circus and comic strip. Yet if much of it verges on self-parody, a few of the set pieces are superb (the Women's Lib congress, every word of which, swears Fellini, was taken verbatim from feminist literature; the homage to the communal masturbatorium the cinema used to be). In his martyrdom, Snaporaz becomes hardly less poignant a creation than Ophüls' Lola Montčs; and only a pinchpenny soul could denigrate the generosity, the sheer fertility of the Maestro's invention in this curate's egg by Fabergé.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Giude located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

City of Women appears true to the source on Blu-ray from The Masters of Cinema arm of Eureka Cinema in the UK.  This is from a recent restoration and looks very clean with some film-like thickness but also a bit waxy and there are some artifacts. The image quality shows minor grain and colors are a remarkably bright. It is not glossy but has decent detail with some depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance some 30-odd-years hence. This Blu-ray is okay in-motion.

NOTE: As noted by some people in email there are compression artifacts/DNR visible and, depending on your sensitivity to them, you may find them distracting.


There are some substantial differences with Cohen's video transfer of Fellini's City of Women when compared to the Master of Cinema from 3-years hence. While they have the same bitrate, the Cohen seems to support the visuals better. You can tell by toggling between the larger linked captures below - I think most are exact frames and it's a bit shocking to now see the poor-ness of the UK disc. It's green cast, artifacts and what appears to be DNR-induced softness and smoothness. Cohen image has more texture but it also represents some compression, IMO although it has less digital manipulation - probably more a reflection of the source used. I lean to the Cohen as the superior but I think both are imperfect.  




1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray TOP

2) Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Captures








Audio :

Audio is in the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel track in original Italian at 1536 kbps. It sounds fine with minimal effects projected from the film. Luis Bacalov (still working today at 80!) did the score and it is supplemented with Mary Francolao's "Una donna senza un uomo č" and Gino Soccio's "The Visitors". I didn't notice any significant sync issues and there are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


While the Cohen video transfer is superior their audio is lossy (standard Dolby) and, for some reason, doesn't support the film's audio and score with an uncompressed transfer. It is not so much a poor quality as not being as rich and full sounding as the UK Blu-ray. The English subtitles are optional (via the remote) and it is region 'A'-locked.   



Extras :

Masters of Cinema really stack the deck with supplements. A Dream of Women is a 1/2 hour documentary on the making of the film - like all the extras is presented in 1080P and from Gaumont. Notes on CITY OF WOMEN is an hour long documentary about Fellini’s film. There is a third documentary - this one about Dante Ferretti, the famous production designer notable for other Fellini films like Ginger and Fred as well as more recent Scorsese works like The Aviator and Shutter Island. It is called A Builder of Dreams and runs 20-minutes. There is a 11-minute video interview with filmmaker Tinto Brass discussing the picture and Fellini. MoC include the original Italian and French theatrical trailers as well as a substantial booklet containing writing on the film, vintage excerpts, and rare archival imagery.


We get much the same extras as the MoC; the 1/2 hour documentary A Dream of Women is likewise includes as are the Dante Ferretti: A Builder of Dreams piece and interview with Tinto Brass. We lose the hour-long Notes on CITY OF WOMEN, documentary about Fellini’s film but keep the two foreign trailers gaining a re-release one and in place of one of MoC typical substantial booklets Cohen include a simple 8-page leaflet. Advantage Masters of Cinema.


Masters of Cinema - Region 'B' -  Blu-ray



Cohen - Region 'A' -  Blu-ray



City of Women is Fellini through-and-through - quite sexy and... surreal although not as carnival-esque as some of his other works. Mastroianni makes it very fun - as do the gals. I enjoyed it quite a lot, but suspect one should be in the right, receptive, mood for maximum appreciation. The Masters of Cinema Blu-ray adds so much value with over 2-hours of extras. Those who know what to expect from the latter Fellini efforts should indulge and enjoy the atmosphere of ecstasy, ego and lust. Recommended!


So we have a disparity in video - depending on your sensitivities - a lesser, technical audio transfer and a large, glaring, omissions in the supplements. For some I suspect a combination on the two Blu-rays would be the ultimate package - if you were bothered by the UK video transfer, you have the option of the Cohen, but the rest would go to Masters of Cinema although Cohen do offer a lot. The lossy audio is a head-scratcher.    

Gary Tooze

February 18th, 2013

May 22nd, 2016

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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