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Ginger and Fred

Marcello Mastroianni , Giulietta Masina , Federico Fellini    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Through A Glass, Brightly March 25 2001
Format:VHS Tape
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. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars No Pretense, Just Straightforward Love July 21 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This could almost be regarded as Fellini's Swan Song, both to his wife and to his audience. I for one, have never been bored by any image Fellini produced. The same goes for Mastroianni and Giulietta (who could ever forget her in Juliette of the Spirits?). This is a simple piece, not overly symbolic or enigmatic, as much of Fellini's previous films were. It really boils down to a slice-of-life representation (akin to Bergman's "Scenes from a Marriage), with cast, director and crew indulging in a bit of nostalgia, sans deeper significance. If this leaves some viewers feeling cheated, it is their loss. Life is not always as complex as we make it out to be. This film is about life lived well. One doesn't have to live a life of glamour and riches to reach stardom. Sometimes the reverse is true. These characters are similar to those in Henry James' short story, "The Real Thing." Sometimes the best actors are those who in reality are least like what they represent. A "common" representative might sit in more convincingly for an Astor or an Astaire, than the original could.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Tough to Love, Tough To Hate Feb. 22 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Fellini was quite obviously indulging his contempt for the madnessthat television had been inspiring in his beloved Roma, and to illustrate his point he concocted a pretty unique story about two formerly famous 'Ginger & Fred' impersonators who reunite for one last moment of glory on national television. In some ways, Fellini was ahead of his time here, because part of the kick in the satire is about the utter desperation of the television industry to suck the entertainment value out of anything, void of originality. The Ginger & Fred couple are part of the joke. They themselves were not "originals"--merely dance hall impersonators whom no one presumably remembered and whose reunion is nothing more than a flash, a filler, a blink in the frenetic pace of TV land. This is where Fellini went right with his tale and where he went wrong at the same time. The premise is right on the money. "Ginger & Fred" are supposed to sound boring and ridiculous and inconsequential. That is TV. But what Fellini was supposed to do was make us see Giulietta and Marcello as vibrant, interesting, magnificent human beings despite their deliberately boring characterizations. He got himself into a real mess here, because the script was lame, his cinematography was uninspired, and his direction wobbles. Giulietta and Marcello are always a thrill to watch, but even they can't save this Fellini clunker. They both end up being as boring in reality as the concept of their Ginger & Fred alter egos. I watched this movie three times in my life. The first time I watched it through and thought it valuable only for the chance to glimpse Fellini's two greatest stars in their old age. The second time I fell asleep after an hour and thought it was my fault. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars "The fresh look that has always been there" Feb. 7 2000
Format:VHS Tape
It's been said that it was part of Fellini's own decay. That is a sad feeling, and the bottom line is that, "Ginger and Fred" is an anti-decay film because it refuses to show an artist's anihilation. Decay? Fellini was always interested in it. He depicted the decay of the roman society in such acclaimed films as "La dolce vita" and "Satyricon". Now, maybe a bit of old age, maybe a touch of bitterness (confirmed with his last film, "The voice of the moon", showed in 1990's Cannes Film Festival) towards noise and the nonsense of television. It's common knowledge that TV is the new oracle (along with the device that's allowing you to read this right now, the Internet), which, added to the lost of past innocence, when dancing and music were enough to satisfy a night's seek of emotions, were elements that mixed in the confusion that "Ginger and Fred" were samples of decay. "Ginger and Fred" was the first Fellini movie I saw at age 10, and I was inmediatly captured by the direct sense of humor, capacity of observation and freshness of a film director's name that sounded pretty strong to me ("Amarcord", especially). There's a camaraderie in the scenes with Marcello that could only come from a true artist love for actors and performers, which is the real subject of this movie. It's a real feast just to catch Fellini's cleverness when dealing with little people, priests, a transexual, a cow with twenty teats, imitators, an almirant, and a couple of Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers veteran personification dancers, all rolled up in a christmas television marathon. Along with Fellini's most obvious resources (actors of strange characteristics; bittersweet situations that deal with the unexpected and the surreal, the vulgar and the humor towards everything) there's a subtle suspense feeling that culminates with the tender dance in the film's ending, before the aged dancers' last good-bye.
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