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And the Ship Sails on
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In Fellini's quirky, imaginative fable, a motley crew of European aristocrats (and a lovesick rhinoceros!) board a luxurious ocean liner on the eve of World War I to scatter the ashes of a beloved diva. Fabricated entirely in Rome's famed Cinecittà studios, And the Ship Sails On (E la nave va) reaches spectacular new visual heights with its stylized re-creation of a decadent bygone era. Criterion is proud to present this rarely-seen gem in an exclusive widescreen transfer with new English subtitles.
Federico Fellini's 1984 And the Ship Sails On is one of the late master's most fanciful projects, while simultaneously striking one of the most somber notes in the director's filmography. The year is 1914, the eve of World War I and the coming destruction of Europe's old, cultured aristocracy, an elite class mourned in many a film from Renoir's The Grand Illusion to Truffaut's The Green Room. A luxury liner sets sail from Italy, full of artists, a royal entourage, and one rhinoceros. The point of the voyage is to scatter the ashes of a world-famous diva, but the exotic passengers--blithely unaware of the imminent conflict--have many, more private intrigues going on behind closed doors. Still, it is the self-containment and formality of these travelers, at once absurd and moving, that sticks with the viewer: the way the many singers, musicians, and conductors (and one plump archduke) seem aware, in public, of embodying a privileged history. Fellini films all the action aboard an impressively lush and blatantly artificial set, with a painted sky, paper moon, and cellophane sea, all underscoring the dreamy, precious nature of this adventure. The camera itself becomes a kind of character via a determined journalist (Freddie Jones) who speaks to us directly, drawing the film into vaguely obscene disruptions of an otherwise serene formalism. --Tom Keogh
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The film's original title is "E la nave va"
It follows the story of an ocean liner going into the Mediterrainian Sea to scatter the ashes of a famous singer near the island she grew up on. The film takes place just before the start of World War I. The assassination of Ferdinand is mentioned as just having happened partway through the film. They later take on Serbian passengers and the crew suspect them of being spies.
Unfortunately, there are no special features on this DVD.
The film has some interesting scenes. The beginning scene reminded me of the first scene in the 1997 version of Titanic witht he black and white slow silent footage of the ship.
Later the film seuges from black and white into color in a manner similar to a scene in Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris which was released by the Criterion Collection on DVD exactly 1 day before the release of Steven Soderbergh's remake of Solaris.
The film has some some humorous scenes one of which is a man singing in a bass tune, causing a chicken to fall asleep.
This is a must for anyone interested in Italian cinema.
Most recent customer reviews
...I own this movie, and I have not watched it fully out. Every time I turn it on I feel that Fellini is trying to show us every detail, and for me they are not psychologically... Read morePublished on March 3 2002 by N. S. Johansen
excellent film. be sure to pay close attention to the scene where two older guys make "great" music with their bare hands and wine glasses...Published on Nov. 16 2000
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