Essential Fellini is the Pick of the Week

A massive 15-disc box set of one of the all-time greatest iconoclasts headlines a new week of interesting releases.
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I don't have to tell you that Federico Fellini remains one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of film. He was an artist who crafted a cinematic spectacle all his own, creating an unique but sometimes bleak world full of dreamers, whose desires, fears, nightmares, and hopes all take center stage. Yes, you can say that he could be over-indulgent, especially when it came to color, eccentricity, so many set pieces, and larger-than-life characters, but that's what was so interesting and phenomenal about him. He made films the way he wanted to make them: full of life, humor, and the human experience. 

The films in this set include fifteen of his greatest works, works that continue to be an incredible influence on a generation of future filmmakers. Many of them also showcase his remarkable collaborations with his wife of 50 years, the equally legendary Giulietta Masina (1921-1994), and his own iconic alter ego, the great actor Marcello Mastroianni (1924-1996). They are:

  • Variety Lights (1950)
  • The White Sheik (1952)
  • I Vitelloni (1953)
  • La Strada (1954)
  • II Bidone (1955)
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957)
  • La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • 8 1/2 (1963)
  • Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
  • Fellini Satyricon (1969)
  • Roma (1972)
  • Amarcord (1973)
  • And the Ship Sails On (1983)
  • Intervista (1987)

The incredible supplements of this set include short films Toby Dammit (1968) and Fellini: A Director's Notebook (1969); documentaries Fellini: I’m a Born Liar (2002) and Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember (1997); two-hour, four-part 1960 interview with director Federico Fellini by filmmaker André Delvaux for Belgian television; behind-the-scenes documentaries: Reporter’s Diary: “Zoom on Fellini” (1965), Ciao, Federico! (1969), The Secret Diary of “Amarcord” (1974), and Fellini racconta: On the Set of “And the Ship Sails On” (1983); Fellini racconta: Passegiatte nella memoria, a 2000 documentary featuring interviews with a late-in-life Fellini; Giulietta Masina: The Power of a Smile, a 2004 documentary about Fellini’s wife and frequent collaborator; Once Upon a Time: “La dolce vita,” a French television documentary about the film; audio commentaries on six of the films; program from 2003 on Fellini's 1980s television advertising work; archival interviews with Fellini stars and collaborators, including Mastroianni, Sandra Milo, Anouk Aimée, and Magali Noël; archival audio interviews by film critic Gideon Bachmann with Fellini, Mastroianni, and Fellini's friends and family; video essays, trailers, and more. If that wasn't enough, there are two lavishly illustrated books with hundreds of pages of content: notes on the films by scholar David Forgacs, essays by filmmakers Michael Almereyda, Kogonada, and Carol Morley; film critics Bilge Ebiri and Stephanie Zacharek; and novelist Colm Tóibín, and dozens of images spotlighting Don Young’s renowned collection of Fellini memorabilia. 

Obviously, if you're a Fellini fanatic and/or a lover of Cinema as a whole, then Criterion has to come to rescue! This is an absolute must-have for your collection, especially in time for the holiday season!

Other notable releases:

The Irishman (Criterion): Martin Scorsese directs Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci in a searing face-based drama of loyality, aging, and mortality, as Frank Sheeran (De Niro) reflects on his past as a hitman for the Bufalino crime family. He remembers his most famous hits, as well as his involvement in his good friend Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance in 1975.

The Lost Weekend (Kino): Billy Wilder's 1945 harrowing masterpiece, starring Ray Milland (in a remarkable Oscar-winning performance) as writer Don Birman, a long-time alcoholic who has been on the stray for ten days and seems to be on the road to recovery, but his appetite for booze becomes more dangerous. In this case, a weekend-long bender may just be his last.

Libeled Lady (Warner Archive): Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Spencer Tracy star in this classic romantic comedy about a newspaper man (Tracy), his jilted fiancee (Harlow), and his lawyer (Powell) hatching a complex plan to turn a false story into the truth, before a wealthy woman (Loy) can sue for libel.

Wonder Boys: The great Michael Douglas stars in this comic drama about a professor who scrambles to get control on his life that has unexpected come apart.

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