149 Juliet of the Spirits

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dad1153
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#26 Post by dad1153 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:22 pm

Napier wrote:
Mr_sausage wrote:I still can't figure out why I'm the only one who thinks this Fellini's best movie.
Me either, it's certainly no Cabiria, 8 1/2,or Amarcord. But it's in his top 5.
I've seen seven Fellini movies: "Amarcord," "8 1/2," "Nights of Cabiria," "Roma," the 'Toby Dammit' segment of "Spirits of the Dead" (which I saw in its entirety), "I Vitelloni" and "Juliet of the Spirits." "Juliet..." is easily the worst or second-worst Fellini of this particular bunch ("Roma" is neck-and-neck for most self-indulgent bore the maestro ever did), IMHO. Again though, (a) I'm relatively new to Fellini (a couple of years) and (b) maybe a repeat viewing will improve my opinion of "Juliet." Sausage, I understand that the lead character of "Juliet" had to act and behave that way Masina does because that's the nature of the movie. I guess then I think Giulietta Masina is miscast for the role, except I don't think she is miscast because she played the wronged-wife-that-internalizes-her-turmoil remarkably well. The lack of a stress-relieving liberating denounment (from either Giulietta's husband admitting his affair, her confronting him with the evidence the investigators had gathered of his philandering or a more overt expression of her ridding herself of the visions that plagued her than a gentle walk away from the house and into the woods) to wrap-up the crazy imagery and kooky characters I had just spent over two hours basically tolerating also threw me for a loop. Basically I don't know what to make of "Juliet of the Spirits" because it doesn't fit neatly into any of my expectations of what a Fellini movie would end up being (except for the expected-for-this-period amazing visuals and Rota-scored delights), which is something I should have liked because I still love for movies that I don't like to at least surprise me. Seeing it again would clarify this except I'd rather re-watch "Amarcord" or "8 1/2" or "Nights of Cabiria" again and again than expose myself to the acute painful torture that, for me, was sitting through the 135 agonizing minutes of self-indulgence run amok that I perceived "Juliet..." to be. :(

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zedz
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#27 Post by zedz » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:35 pm

Mr_sausage wrote:I still can't figure out why I'm the only one who thinks this Fellini's best movie.
With the proviso that I generally find Fellini to be grotesquely overrated and there are a number of his films I actively loathe (I know that's quite a proviso!), Juliet of the Spirits is my favourite as well. My rationalization for this is that Federico, in mentally projecting himself into his wife's (or "his wife's") imaginative world, manages to overcome some of the smug vanity that stifles a lot of his other films for me. Also: Gianni de Venanzo + colour = visual bliss.

EDIT: just glancing again at dad's last post, I'm with him on the "indulgence", but not on the "self-", and for me that makes all the difference.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#28 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:19 pm

dad1153 wrote:The lack of a stress-relieving liberating denounment (from either Giulietta's husband admitting his affair, her confronting him with the evidence the investigators had gathered of his philandering or a more overt expression of her ridding herself of the visions that plagued her than a gentle walk away from the house and into the woods) to wrap-up the crazy imagery and kooky characters I had just spent over two hours basically tolerating also threw me for a loop.
I think a moment of serene quiet was a perfect way to end this movie, not to mention more thematically appropriate than a melodramatic resolution. One of the major motifs of the film is Juliet's inability to be truly alone. Guido in 8 1/2 has a similar problem, he is constantly hounded by one person or another; but unlike Juliet, he can escape for a brief moment into a fantasy and live an imaginative freedom. Juliet's fantasies conspire against her, they form one more burden to complement the burdens of being the dutiful housewife, the sacrificing daughter, the supportive friend, and whatever other social role is expected of her. Juliet is not only never alone, but never living truly for herself: there is always some sort of chatter making her life restless, some manner of guilt or self-sacrifice expected of her. Even her own considerable imagination becomes a reflection and an extension of her stifling lack of necessary isolation, plaguing her with visions and voices of old psychic wounds and long forgotten duties she is somehow still required to fulfill. Her husband's affair is only one small part of Juliet's total problem: that she lives, and is expected to live, for others rather than for herself. A confrontation with her husband, I feel, would offer no resolution since in a way his philandering was the essential catastrophe to begin Juliet's quest for fulfillment (achieved by an ironic emptying) and so had very positive repercussions. For me, the film's actual resolution is the best one: Juliet achieves silence and solitariness: she can finally be alone with herself, and so she walks out of the gates and off into the forest. I would like to think she finds something soothing in there. It is a moving image of freedom for a movie about social and psychic chains.
zedz wrote:EDIT: just glancing again at dad's last post, I'm with him on the "indulgence", but not on the "self-", and for me that makes all the difference.
I'm actually quite happy with "self-indulgence." I just don't see why everyone insists it's a universal, a priori negative criticism. Who decided self-sacrifice was the only way to make good art? Some artists flourish when they're indulging the best and most exuberant parts of their self.

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Michael
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#29 Post by Michael » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:00 am

edite - pointless ramblings
Last edited by Michael on Mon May 03, 2010 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dad1153
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#30 Post by dad1153 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:14 am

OK, Turner Classic Movies ran "Juliet of the Spirits" a few weeks ago. I taped the HD version of TCM (not really high-def, just a nice upconvert) and rewatched "Juliet..." again last night (EDIT: TCM will re-air "Juliet of the Spirits" this Sunday overnight at 3AM ET/12AM PT). Other than being way too long (it could easily loose 20-25 minutes from its first half) this was a much better and enjoyable viewing experience than I expected. You're right Sausage, expecting Masina's character personality to be in "La Strada" or "Nights of Cabiria" mode poisoned my initial reception of this movie big time. In fact Giulietta's subdued performance in "Juliet..." is the movie's highlight (despite all the striking visuals her husband throws/stages all around her) precisely for the same reason she was so good in "Cabiria": you can't take your eyes off of her or not care about what's going to happen to her. She's the flip side of her outgoing characters in her earlier Fellini films, the only 'normal' person in a movie universe populated by weirdos and creepy freaks :?. I still don't like anybody else in the movie except for Suzy (Sandra Milo literally sparks the movie to life when she's on) and still wish that the cheating hubby would have been confronted by his wife. But then the walk into the woods (a scene that left me cold the first time) wouldn't have had the subtle-but-powerful impact of a nuclear bomb going off in the once-repressed life of the protagonist. Guess "Juliet..." is now in the middle of the pack of my watched Fellini movies (ahead of "Roma," the 'Toby Dammit' mini-movie and maybe "I Vitelloni") but there's still "La Dolce Vita," "La Strada" and a few others to plow through. Who knows mr. sausage, maybe third time's the charm. 8-)

As a little reference, I'm one of the few people now (but a larger group back in '98) that thought "The Big Lebowsky" (i.e. "Juliet of the Spirits") was a stinkin' disappointment as a follow-up from the Coen Bros. (i.e. Fellini) to their "Fargo" (i.e. "8 1/2") masterpiece. I've seen "Lebowski" a few times since and, while I like it better, I just don't see the out-of-this-world quality that other people see in it that have elevated the flick to cult classic. The body of work by the Coens (Fellini) is so vast and varied though that it's no surprise I and my personal sensibilities may gravitate more towards other movies while many (but not all) consider "Lebowski" ("Juliet of the Spirits") the filmmakers' seminal work. Plenty to choose from. :)

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R0lf
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#31 Post by R0lf » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:23 pm

I had the opposite problem with this movie. Because I had seen Masina in Juliet of the Spirits first and had completely bought her as the bourgeois housewife it then took me a lot of the movie to buy her performance as Cabiria (which turned when they included her inner dialogue which probably also marks the turn in Fellini's career of including his patented internal/external dialogues) and I still haven't accepted her performance in La Strada.

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Ovader
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#32 Post by Ovader » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:10 pm

Rich Malloy wrote:I never picked up the Nouveaux disc, and looking back again at the captures I'm not sure I want to... and leaving aside the black levels to concentrate on the white levels - does the obvious contrast boosting of the Nouveaux not bothersome to any of you? I mean, even the weave of Giulietta's hat is completely blown out!
Many years later... Watching the Nouveaux DVD upscaled from my Seiki to my Samsung HDTV there were no blown out whites on the hat's weave. Cult Films will release a blu-ray edition next year (bonus features not yet announced) and this makes me curious if Criterion will release an upgrade to their edition. Very much in favour of this film while understanding others' negative reactions. I am completely won over by everything in this film from the protagonist's quest in the narrative, the cast of characters, the playfulness of Fellini's direction, the music, the cinematography and the production design. Very inspiring for my own ambitions in filmmaking.

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domino harvey
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#33 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:03 am

Allow me to join the minority chorus calling this Fellini's best-- wow! Has Almodovar ever talked about this film? I kept thinking while watching that whether consciously or not, this movie set the blueprint for so many of his films just as much as Cukor and Sirk et al

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david hare
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#34 Post by david hare » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:38 pm

Some of you there might be aware this is availbale on a good quality Blu Ray from UK label Cult films. The tarnsfer and source are infinitely better than the same label's I VItelloni.

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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#35 Post by Telstar » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:02 am

david hare wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:38 pm
Some of you there might be aware this is availbale on a good quality Blu Ray from UK label Cult films. The tarnsfer and source are infinitely better than the same label's I VItelloni.
I haven't seen the new blu-ray but the only reviews I've been able to find for it both seemed pretty convinced the image quality was terrible.

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domino harvey
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#36 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:28 am

There's more discussion of the release of the Cult Films Blu-ray in the dedicated thread for the label here

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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#37 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:19 am

This is one of those Fellini films that I have not reached yet, so I am afraid that I only really know it from the French & Saunders parody, but it is heartening to know that you liked it domino!

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knives
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Re: 149 Juliet of the Spirits

#38 Post by knives » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:51 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:03 am
Allow me to join the minority chorus calling this Fellini's best-- wow! Has Almodovar ever talked about this film? I kept thinking while watching that whether consciously or not, this movie set the blueprint for so many of his films just as much as Cukor and Sirk et al
I'm not aware of him specifically calling this one out, but he has called Fellini one of his favorites so it isn't out of the question.

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