Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits ★★★★

Behind me now stand Fellini’s most lofty pictures of the 60’s and I’m still relishing the time I have left in the Italian dreamer’s mind. Giulietta degli Spiriti is perhaps the most symbolic and idiosyncratic example of his mind and probably of all Fellini features – and, believe me, that is saying a lot (some of his later works are truly bonkers).

For that straightforward reason I don’t really get why so many cinephiles, including and even especially fans of Fellini, don’t consider this a fine motion-picture. Is it not one of the most prolific films Fellini produced?

It is rather impossible to contradict that, for Giulietta degli Spiriti is teeming with cyphers, quirkiness and unconventionalities: falcon statues with breasts, trees with magic elevators, bedrooms with water slides, tables with spirits and faceless nuns are just the kind of thing the film is packed with. Their source is of course Giulietta’s mind, which is fantastically complex, real and surreal at the same time. And all of her hallucinations are deliriously entertaining and funny while being truthful to the human condition. It is this ability Fellini perfectly showcases in this feature: capturing frank notions and meaningful theories through surrealistic imagery.

For me the film’s rainbow palette, whimsical sets and extravagant costumes, as well as Nino Rota’s unusually eerie music and the creative framing utilized, illustrate perfectly the character’s state of mind, and help her make the plot-defining decision: will she divorce her cheating husband?

The amount of personal and biographical aspects in that plot is somewhat relevant, but it can perfectly be a standalone film without an important director’s life attached to it. Giulietta Masina, Fellini’s wife and the titular actress/character, gives one of her most heartfelt and personally a/effective performances, presumably precisely because of the film's verity.

That is the true value of Giulietta degli Spiriti, a recollection of dreams, fantasies and philosophies that deep down in anyone’s subconscious affect their life decisions.

Direction: ★★★★
Story/Screenplay: ★★★½
Acting: ★★★★½
Visuals/Cinematography: ★★★★½
Editing/Pacing: ★★★★
Sound/Music: ★★★★½
Overall Rating: ★★★★