Fellini’s Roma

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

This film doesn’t have a traditional storyline or even pieces of one, as it works on more of a visual basis instead. In the end, this film is a loving look at the city of Rome, via the eyes of Federico Fellini, who has a unique vision, to say the least. Fellini’s Roma takes us on a visual trek through time and space, as we watch Rome’s realm come to life in grand and often gaudy style. The colors soak up the screen in rich and vivid hues, striking against bright, shining metallic shades that sparkle in the distance. This production moves from Fellini’s arrival in Rome, to his teenage years in the fine realm, all the way to his then-present day persona. The camera takes us through the shimmering, tantalizing night world of Rome, as well as through the ruins of Rome’s subway system, through the eyes of an archaeological team. If this all seems fantastical from this synopsis, just wait until you can see Fellini’s Roma with your own eyes.

Fellini’s Roma has some of the most lush visuals you’ll ever see, as the makeup, costumes, and set designs all provide a sumptuous feast for the eyes. In fact, I think it would be easy to slip into the visuals, allowing the other elements do disappear into the background. This might be a good thing however, as there little else aside from the visuals to focus on. The storyline is pretty much absent and the acting is forgettable, but man, what a total visual buffet this is. I don’t want to make it seem as though Fellini’s Roma is a bad movie, as it isn’t, but the visuals are without a doubt the main course in this banquet. The lack of traditional storyline is no real problem here, as this is more like a documentary picture that relies on small nuances, such as dialogue snippets and various bits & pieces of events. You can just sit back and soak in all the visuals not missing much, but if you pay attention, there’s somewhat of a tale being told, though not a traditional one. This disc is solid in technical terms, although it offers minimal supplements, but MGM has given this a low price and as such, I give this a very strong recommendation.

This is a very personal vision of Rome over the years, as seen through the eyes of Federico Fellini. If you’re even a casual film lover, then you know Fellini was a master of visual approach and that was never more evident than in this picture. Fellini drops all the usual elements and focus on what he was most skilled at, making his visions come to life on screen and dazzle audiences. With the need for linear storytelling absent, Fellini takes his visual presence to new levels in Roma, levels which few films have even come close to reaching, before or since. I think this was Fellini’s fantasy projected onto the screen, which means those not used to his style could feel left out. But fans of his work will be in heaven with Roma, which I feel is Fellini’s most beautiful and visually rich effort, very impressive indeed. Other films directed by Fellini include Variety Lights, La Dolce Vita, Amarcord, Fellini Satyricon, 8 1/2, Nights of Cabiria, and And The Ship Sails On. The cast of Roma includes Peter Gonzales (The End), Dennis Christopher (Chariots of Fire, Jake Speed), Fiona Florence (We Are No Angels), and Loredana Martinez (Sex Machine, The Cousin).

Video: How does it look?

Fellini’s Roma is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I know MGM has a policy which states films in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1 won’t be given anamorphic enhancement, but this is a prime case of how poor that line of thinking really is. Roma is such a lush, layered visual experience, but thanks to this non anamorphic treatment, I think this disc is hampered from the start. The added resolution would clear up the presence of edge enhancement, which sometimes detract from the focus of where our eyes should be. This by no means a bad transfer, but with a little more effort, I think this could have been a real winner of a release. And if a flick like Fellini’s Roma isn’t deserving according to MGM, then which movies will be given the deluxe treatment?

Audio: How does it sound?

The original Italian language is used for this release, via a basic, but effective mono option. I was never let down with track, but I do think a new surround mix might liven up the atmosphere a little. I always like to see the original format included, but I think a new mix here could have enhanced the overall experience, even if only in a few sequences. The music is the main element that needs a boost, as the mono track offers little in terms of dynamic presence. But the music is presented as well as mono allows, which is really all you could ask for in this case. The dialogue also comes across very well, with crisp form and no evidence of volume errors I could detect. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, in case you’ll have use for them.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s original theatrical trailer.

Disc Scores

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