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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



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

Runtime: 2:19:21.000

Disc Size: 46,279,664,168 bytes

Feature Size: 34,748,824,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 25th, 2013



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



English (SDH), 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





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.



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. The image quality shows a very fine layer of grain and colors are bright with nice separation. It is not glossy but acceptably sharp 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 impressive in-motion without any egregious digital manipulation. It looked like a newish film.

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

















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.


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.



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! 

Gary Tooze

February 18th, 2013


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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60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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Gary W. Tooze






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