Combustible Celluloid
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With: Donald Sutherland, Tina Aumont, Cicely Browne, Carmen Scarpitta, Clara Algranti, Daniela Gatti, Margareth Clementi, Mario Cencelli, Olimpia Carlisi, Silvana Fusacchia, Chesty Morgan, Leda Lojodice, Sandra Elaine Allen, Marika Rivera, Diane Kurys, Alessandra Belloni
Written by: Federico Fellini, Bernardino Zapponi, based on an autobiography by Giacomo Casanova
Directed by: Federico Fellini
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 155
Date: 02/11/1977

Fellini's Casanova (1976)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Satin Lover

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Another of Federico Fellini's late-period, garish, gargantuan pieces, Fellini's Casanova moves through its story well enough, but its emphasis on the meaninglessness of its title character's existence, surrounded by highly artificial set pieces — including a sea made of black plastic garbage bags — may leave viewers wondering what the point was. More carnival than carnal, even the sex scenes are fake, with star Donald Sutherland waving his hindquarters wildly in the air. Wearing a fake nose and chin and with his forehead shaved, Sutherland seems an odd Casanova, as Fellini makes him pitiable, a figure whose accomplishments add up to nothing, and asks audiences to sit with 155 minutes of it. Still, Fellini was a first-class artist, and as he changes his sequences like rings of a circus, there's always something to see. The movie received an Oscar for Best Costume Design, and Fellini and co-writer Bernardino Zapponi were nominated for their screenplay. Kino Lorber released the film on a fine-looking 2020 Blu-ray edition. It includes a commentary track by film critic Nick Pinkerton, and a liner notes essay ("Fellini's Cinematic Music Box") by film scholar Alberto Zambenedetti, PhD. Though the film is in English, the disc also includes an optional Italian language track.

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