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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2006
Many viewers and critics are ambivalent about Fellini's films. You hear "unstructured", "self-indulgent", "egotistic" until you imagine the reproach is that Fellini didn't have more shoot-out and car chase scenes. So let me state my bias: I think he is important in film, comparable to figures like Picasso or Kafka in other media. Further, the films I like the most are "La Strada" (1954), "Fellini's Casanova" (1976), "Intervista" (1987) and "Fellini Satyricon" (1969) ie I don't believe, as some have it, that he created some good films near the start of his career, then fell into a 30 year decline.

Intervista is an homage: to film, to Cinecitta, to Fellini cast and crew. In it Fellini richly draws on his memories, dreams and emotions, as often before. Egotistic? What else do any of us have to draw on? It is also laced with a spicy humor based on Fellini's eye for the absurd in people, places and situations which is basic to his work and often overlooked.

The film tells three stories. In the first, Cinecitta in the 40s when the young reporter Fellini first arrived there, to interview an actor; in the second, the heyday of Fellini's career, the 60s, when La Dolce Vita launched him, stars such as Marcello Mastroianni and Italian cinema itself on a triumphant and influential trajectory around the world; in the third Fellini shows us what it is like to make a film now (the 80s) when one is a celebrity, under the burden of expectations from cast and crew members and the public, represented by a Japanese TV crew trying to interview him.

The film is structured as films within film. The young Fellini's first visit to Cinecitta is itself a film, taking place on another lot, while Fellini is busy making a version of Kafka's Amerika. Memory, he seems to suggest, comes from the same source as imagination. We invent our past as much as we imagine our future: both intermingle to produce our present. This structure enables Fellini to switch backwards and forwards between the various periods represented in the film, the same way our minds work.

In another, famous, scene, Fellini shows Anita Ekberg and Mastroianni watching their younger selves perform in La Dolce Vita. Both are affected, Ekberg to tears. What do they regret: the passing of time, the passing of fame? Or has Fellini made them see the precarious border between illusion and reality, that beauty and fame are a strip of celluloid with light shining through it?

Cast and crew have a lot of screen time. This is one of the greatest films about film making, surpassing even Truffaut's La Nuit Americaine, Day for Night. All seem solicitous for the "Maestro". "If he gets sick, we don't work" says someone. Funny scenes abound as a line of hopeful would be actors claiming to have 'Fellini faces' vie for parts. This was a man whose habits and work methods were known to many Italians, not just to film workers. And the more famous Fellini got, the more power he had on the lot, until he carried and cared for over a hundred people, all dependent on him, as he strove to make another Fellini masterpiece under the expectant eye of film journalists. How unlikely a situation to inspire creative ideas is that?

Fellini was a painter with light who explored deep in his subconscious and returned with mythic images that can evoke a powerful response in us: if we let them. We can always refuse, and say he is self-indulgent, just as Picasso is confusing, Kafka obscure. We can ignore him another way, by saying he is 'great', a kind of dismissal. Fellini was a warm, caring person who loved and was loved by his colleagues as well as a charismatic, visionary one who inspired them. In Intervista we get to see both these sides of the man. Interview, some ask? He hasn't said anything, hasn't told us any facts. But he's shown us how he makes a film: and he's told us all we need to know. In fact Fellini is not to be trusted when he tells facts. Intervista is not a film, he says, as earlier, Casanova was just a film he had to make for contractural obligations. Rather, pay attention to what he shows, even to the way a papier mache elephant falls over.

Vincenzo Mollica's part documentary, part compilation of interviews about Fellini is one of the best features on Fellini I've seen, and nicely rounds out the DVD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 30, 2005
Federico Fellini broke through all the walls he could find in 1987's delightfully jumbled "Intervista." The maestro created a film about a film about a film.

There is, not surprisingly, a film about all those films, the Italian documentary "The Man From Rimini," included on the "Intervista" DVD. The leisurely docu runs an hour, subtitled.

"I don't really consider ('Intervista') a movie," Fellini tells the press as he hits the festival circuit. "It is a friendly chat among close friends."

Those friends are his collaborators at Rome's Cinecitta Studios, whose 50th anniversary inspired "Intervista." Fellini's film is a mockumentary of sorts, in which a Japanese TV crew arrives on the lot to interview the director, who tells them of his first visit to the studio as a young journalist. Fellini, meanwhile, is supposedly adapting Franz Kafka's "Amerika," rounding up the usual surreal suspects for his cast and riding out the production's craziness.

Fellini notes there is "no subject and no screenplay" -- "Intervista" is "a movie made in total freedom." That may explain the Native Americans on horseback who attack his Italian crew, wielding TV antennas as spears.

The movie is best known for its scene with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, sentimentally reunited to watch the Trevi Fountain scene from 1960's "La Dolce Vita." (Ekberg says Mastroianni didn't have much time for her on the "Intervista" set.)

Images are widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 screens. The transfer looks good, with true flesh tones despite some grain. The "5.1 surround audio" stays front center in surround mode. There is a long annoying stretch in which the sound suffers from a persistent popping sound.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2007
Intervista (Interview) 1987

This is a misunderstood film. Fellini tried something new with this picture. At the time of its release, all across Europe it was heralded as a masterpiece, which I think it certainly is. American audiences didn't quite `get it' for the same reason that U.S. audiences don't enjoy non-linear, abstract music like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Henry, or Iannis Xenakis. (sound effects as music)

`Intervista' is a cavalcadesque montage of moments and so one can conceivably start watching it anywhere and even walk away and miss some of it without losing any of it's intended effect. Fellini himself said that it was a movie made in total freedom and had no subject and no screenplay, like a party you can go to and have a good time without any need or capability of hearing every word of every conversation there. It is certainly nothing like 8 1/2 or any of his other films since there really isn't any plot per se. As my other half and I watched it I was enjoying the concept of theater as atmosphere but she couldn't take it any more and walked out.

In the DVD extras are two interesting items. First is a short called `On the Set' which is a photomontage of stills from the set (including a shot of David Lynch and Isabella Rosalini - An Inland Empire moment of inception?) and at the end, a clip of Fellini talking about the film. Second is an hour long interview by Vincenzo Mollica with Fellini talking about the film called, `Intervista per "Intervista" di Federico Fellini.' (An interview for `Interview' by Fellini). I watched this after I saw the film and it was fascinating for several reasons, not the least of which was the discussion of an underlying plot (despite the fact that Fellini denied the existence of one) of the journalist character playing a young version of himself as a young man visiting the Cinecitta Studios (Italian equivalent of Hollywood) to get an interview with a famous star. I recomend watching this documentary first as it is filled with many insights into the world of `Intervista' making it a fuller and more Felliniesque experience if that's possible.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1999
for fans of "la dolce vita" this is a must -- a wonderful look forward -- its a reminder to live life to its fullest
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 1999
"Intervista" is one of Fellini's final jumbles. It lacks any real coherence, yet it's chock full of stunning images and poignant scenes. Many of the scenes at Cinecitta (Rome's famed movie studios) are priceless--like those within the backside of a huge elephant set-piece! And the scene of "present day" obese and wrinkled Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni watching their former youthful selves in the Trevi Fountain scene from "La Dolce Vita" being projected on an old bed sheet is among the most moving and poignant scenes in any film. It speaks volumes about aging and regret and how short our lives really are. The long conclusion on a rainy outdoor movie location is simply a waste of time. Fellini fans should see this movie; others may simply be perplexed.
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on October 1, 2012
Seller delivered product quickly and in perfect condition. I see this movie as an attempt to move beyond 8 1/2 and directed so that the messaged gained from the movie style is as important as the substance; I don't think it fully succeeds but is still worthy of viewing.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2008
Old men tend to make art that is shallow, imitative of their earlier, better works, and which would never garner an ounce of praise were it not for their backlog of greater works somehow letting their patina still rub off. In America, the best proof of this nostrum is the awarding of the lifetime Academy Award to a film director, or actor. Apparently, Europe is not immune to such worthless laurels either, for, in 1987, Federico Fellini's disastrously bad film Intervista won the Cannes Film Festival's Fortieth Anniversary Award and the Grand Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. In it, one can see many pastiches from earlier Fellini films, much as Ingmar Bergman cribbed ideas and scenes from his earlier masterpieces for his disastrously bad last film Saraband, the way Akira Kurosawa tossed random ideas together for Dreams, and the way Woody Allen has constantly reworked themes from his 1970s and 1980s great films into his last decade's worth of mostly mediocrities. That said, even the worst of Allen's recent films, like The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion, were better than Intervista. Fellini might take some solace in the fact that Intervista is a better film than Bergman's incest-ridden Saraband, but it's a minor comfort, at best, and this shoddy film still falls well shy of even Dreams.
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7 of 20 people found the following review helpful
If there's ever been a Fellini film that screams, "Retire!", this is it. There are few redeeming qualities here, but the flaws are innumerable. The characters are flat and unsympathetic, the acting is the worst kind of improvisation, the metaphors pointless where they aren't obvious. And the movie-within-a-movie shtick has been done before, and done better. The world was surprised by Italian cinema after WWII and through the sixties; it was fresh, harsh, profound, and expanded the known boundaries of movie-making. Fellini's blend of colorful characters, real and surreal situations, and almost stream-of-consciousness plotlines elevated movie-making from mere storytelling to an artform. But he seems to keep pushing the envelope in the same direction as always, and here he is attempting to dazzle us with images and confusing activity rather than saying anything meaningful. In this self-absorbed semi-autobiographical quagmire, Fellini appears to believe his reputation alone is enough to sustain a film, but just in case, he brings back Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg, and he embarrasses them both, as far as I'm concerned. This film will leave everyone but Fellini's hero-worshippers feeling just as flat as the characters. As I watched, I kept thinking about how "silly" everything was. That shouldn't be the last word a director hears at the end of his career.
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