Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ginger and Fred (Federico Fellini, 1986)

***½
Italy/France/West Germany




Part grotesque satire of television and contemporary urban decay, part poignant screen reunion between Fellini and his beloved Marcello Mastroianni and Giulietta Masina. They play a dance team moderately famous for imitating Astaire and Rogers in the 1940s, and reuniting for the first time since then for a TV special swimming with circus-friendly faces.

Fellini's bile at the TV industry isn't very grounded, since the show he ridicules is really just an aggressive, unrealistic update of the kitsch that Masina and Mastroianni's characters would have taken part in 40 years earlier (which is itself held in vague, fuzzy nostalgia). Where he used to focus on the joy and camaraderie of these things, here he emphasises the bitterness and vulgarity.

All the same, much of the movie is made up of predictably lovely sequences and bears an organic warmth that was generally absent from Fellini's late career output.

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