To my mind, "And the ship sails on" is maybe Fellini's best movie.
The story is delightful, fantasmagoric allegory about the last days of Grand Old Europe, when the "old order" with its nobility and social hierarchy blows up in smoke, in 1914, with the events that lead to WWI.
Fellini, though, is not interested in real events and precise history. He is a fable teller, portraying old Europe, to a grand ocean liner, set on a ceremonial voyage, to scatter the ashes of a famous opera diva, who had recently died. Upon the ship are all the rich and famous of Europe's nobility, as well as all the top musicians and opera singer-stars who joined in for the ride. Stacked in the lower compartments are the poor and the hungry, fleeing refugees brought on board as an act of compassion, that form the powder keg that will ignite the inevitable final explosion .
It is impossible to describe the kaleidoscopic scenes that occur between the passangers as the ship sails on. Imbued with fantastic portrayals of musical rivalry, political intrigue, lascivious affairs, and a pervasive sense of magic tinged with irony- the entire voyage, with its lavish scenery, turns into a tragi-comic, dream-like happening, where the spectator is tickled as much as emotionally moved. Only Fellini the master could conjure such a dazzling, symbolic and unbelievably lovely spectacle of a human folly of an era.
A lot of fun and a classic must.