On Ginger e Fred

One of Fellini’s last, Ginger e Fred was made 1986, and bears all the awful stylistic earmarks of the decade. So it may not look a whole lot like 8.5 or La Dolce Vita, but in pacing and content it resembles most every other film Fellini made, from La Strada to Giulietta degli spiriti to the entirely sublime And the Ship Sails On.

The story concerns two aging dancers, who once made their living imitating Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and their brief reunion for what seems to be an Italian version of Super Sabado. My favorite Italian actress is Giulietta Masina (Monica Vitti may well be the most beautiful woman given to mankind, but Masina is quite simply a more subtle actress), and here she’s about as good as ever as Ginger Rogers, or rather the Rogers impersonater. Marcello Mastroianni is great as well. At times the movie turns into a satire that bites a little harder than some of the movies mentioned above, but all in all it’s another lively romp through one more Age of Excess by a director who was never afraid to exceed a little himself. There’s a soft side to it as well (this, in my opinion, is what is best about Fellini), as when the Mastroianni character gives an inspired finish to a routine after suffering a pathetically debilitating leg cramp half way through his performance.

It may not be the first or even the fifth Fellini movie I’d recommend, but if you enjoy the old impressario at all, you will certainly enjoy this.

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