In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.
Amelia and Pippo are reunited after several decades to perform their old music-hall act (imitating Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) on a TV variety show. It's both a touchingly nostalgic journey into the past, and a viciously satirical attack on television in general and Italian TV in particular, portraying it as a mindless freakshow aimed at moronsWritten by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Upon the film's release in the USA, Ginger Rogers sued the production and the distributors for 'misappropriation and infringement of her public personality'. The case was dismissed, the judgment stating that the film referred to her and Astaire only obliquely. See more »
Memories are time capsules kept within every one of us, stored in the mind, but activated by the heart; the indelible images and sensations that make up an individual's life. A heartbeat away, they can be opened at any time, but let the bearer beware, for often they are bittersweet at best. `Ginger and Fred,' directed by Federico Fellini, and starring Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni, brings two people back together after nearly thirty years apart, a reunion of the professional dance team who for fifteen years prior to their retirement imitated Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to the delight of audiences all over Europe. Now, all these years later, they are to dance together again; this time on the popular television show, `We Are Proud To Present,' a `tabloid' type show which presents a variety of acts and guests weekly for the perusal of their curious audience. And so, amid a circus atmosphere of acts comprised of a troop of midgets, an Admiral, a number of celebrity impersonators and those whose personal lives have attracted media attention, Amelia Bonetti/'Ginger' (Masina) and Pippo Botticella/'Fred' (Mastroianni), come together again for one magical night during which they hope to recapture that spark of life they had embraced those many years ago. At it's core, Fellini's film is heart-felt and poignant. On one hand, it's a satire of popular television; on the other, it's an examination of the very real ramifications of those so-called `sentimental journeys' that those of a certain age are wont to take, and during which it is often discovered that it is, indeed, impossible to go home again. What really makes this film work is the stoic attitudes of the principal characters, especially Ginger, who though she is happy to see Pippo again refuses to allow sentiment to engulf her. Obviously, her memories are fond ones, but she manages to stay in the here and now, taking life as it is and not merely basking in what it was. Pippo, though, has a bit more of the wanton dreamer in him, possibly due to the fact that his life since the split with Amelia has not been as directionally grounded as that of his former partner. But as showtime approaches, they manage to strike a balance between the past and now that keeps them on track and holds much promise for an evening of making new memories to add to the old. Besides the story itself, what makes this film a real treasure is the presence and performance of the indomitable Giulietta Masina. In her mid-sixties when this was filmed, she still had `it' in spades. All the moves, the attitude, the coquettishness that made her one of the most expressive actresses ever. Even in her advancing years she was still an absolute joy to behold. There was something so down-to-earth, yet almost mystical about her, that gave her that rare quality of being `real' in every role she played. Extremely talented and charismatic, she was quite simply an extraordinary actress. Somehow-- and it's quite puzzling-- she never achieved the international stardom nor received the acclaim she deserved. This film proved to be her theatrical swan song, and simply put, what a way to go. She bowed out as she had always lived her life and performed-- with style, grace and more than a touch of class. Her `Ginger' is a truly memorable character. Not to be outdone by his diminutive co-star, Mastroianni gives a wonderful performance as well, capturing the essence of a man whose life has apparently been in one continuous state of flux. As the story unfolds, you get the feeling that his aloofness merely masks a somewhat undisciplined determination, probably more often than not derailed by the boy still residing in the man. Most importantly, though, he makes Pippo entirely believable, and the fact that he is so good in this film reflects, I believe, not only upon his ability as an actor, but upon the fact that Masina was so giving as an actress. It is apparent in the way they play so well off of one another, and the real chemistry between them is unmistakable. The supporting cast includes Frederick Ledebur (Admiral), Friedrich von Thun (Industrieller), Francesco Casale (Mafioso) and France Fabrizi (Show Host). One of Fellini's tenderest films, `Ginger and Fred' is something of a reflection upon life and love; watching it is like reminiscing with, or about, an old friend or loved one. The film has something of a dream-like quality about it that is so in keeping with Fellini's visionary style, and by the end you will find that you have been absolutely transported. Still, of all the wondrous images brought to the screen by Fellini during the many years of his career, the greatest of all was irrefutably Giulietta Masina. I rate this one 10/10.
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