Intervista (1987)

by | Aug 8, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Intervista (1987)

Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg
Studio: Koch Lorber Films
Video: 1.85:1 widescreen for 16:9
Audio: DD 5.1, Italian
Subtitles: English
Extras: Fellini documentary by Vincenzo Mollica, Theatrical trailer, Photo montage from the set
Length: 116 minutes
Rating: ****

As a Fellini fan I’ve been trying to see all of the director’s films
and this was one of them I had missed when it was originally released.
His next to last film is not one of his greatest, but it’s certainly
better than his last one.  It would probably be a bit of a bore to
those unfamiliar with the director’s career and films – it is filled
with poignant nostalgia, even more so than his earlier films such as
Amarcord which were also heavy on nostalgia.

Intervista is a highly unusual film in that, as described by Fellini
himself, it has “no subject, no screenplay.”  It is filmed in
total freedom around his beloved Cinecitta studios in Rome where he
made nearly all of his films. It gets underway as an enthusiastic
Japanese documentary film crew is reporting on Fellini as he is
supposedly directing a new film at Cinecitta – Kafka’s “Amerika.” 
He is asked about his early career and that sets him off on a journey
into some of the same memories explored in earlier films – the Fascists
during the Mussolini era, an actor representing the young Fellini
trying to get an interview with an important diva, visits to various
sets where among other things an East Indian spectacular is being
filmed. In the latter the director (not Fellini) has a hissy fit
because the studio didn’t supply real elephants but instead a series of
two-dimensional mockups – one with a trunk that falls off when raised
in unison with the others.

There are also TV commercials being filmed at Cinecitta, and
Mastroianni is dressed as Mandrake the Magician for one of them. He
suddenly appears floating in a cloud of fog outside the window of a
second story room with the young journalist and others including
Fellini inside.  Fellini kidnaps Mastroianni from the commercial
shoot and takes him in a caravan of cars out to the country for a
surprise. The destination turns out to be the home of Anita Ekberg and
the guests quickly stage a party there. The highlight of the party and
the film is when Mastroianni – still in costume – produces a projector
and sheet for a screen and shows the famous Trevi Fountain scene from
La Dolce Vita featuring Ekberg and himself. Not a dry eye in the house
when that’s over.

Later the now enlarged crowd of Cinecitta tourists is caught in a
thunderstorm, kept dry by set-construction workers who bring a plastic
tent affair over their heads, and somehow they all end up spending the
night in the makeshift abode.  The next morning one person looks
out and says “It’s dawn. They’ll be attacking soon.”  Some of the
men prepare themselves with rifles.  Soon the rain shelter is
attacked by a band of movie-set Indians waving spears which are really
TV antennas. Nobody is injured, the Indians ask Fellini if they did a
good job, and everyone goes home – wishing Merry Christmas as they
depart.  That’s it. The original score by Nicola Piovani is in the
style of Fellini’s longest composer relationship – Nino Rota.

– John Sunier

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