Fellini’s Casanova

(1976) Federico Fellini. Anthology Film Archives - Anti-Biopic series.

A picaresque dreamscapade through the debauched Scientific Revolution of Western Europe, beginning with a Venetian masquerade at the nighttime canal in which floats the gargantuan black head of Casanova. Our hero has affairs with humpbacks and aged Parisennes and a giantess in London.  As Casanova's journey deepens, the society is found to have devolved.  At a party in Germany, Casanova holds in his hand rare seeds which he himself has cultivated, they have a special regenerative property. But the Nordics are drunk and rampant, and a dim bully Fritz blows the seeds out of Casanova's hand....  Before lambasting his Italian dirtbag opponent in the public cum contest, Casanova explains that the true libertine is not just a sex maniac, but a scholar, an inventor, with knowledge of the movement of bodily fluids. It is all lost on the ginzo party-goers.

Casanova is ever more defiant of his own inventor's consequence, and as he ages his memory becomes one of popular legend as his living reality is the bad joke of an old man no one listens to, begging for supper in the village tavern. Casanova has made the rounds of his time and place with the vast enlightened passion for technic imagination as Jefferson assembling his bookshelf, and indeed Casanova ends up the sexless librarian to Count Waldstein.  Fellini is quoted in regards to the director's choice of Donald Sutherland, "a sperm-filled waxwork with the eyes of a masturbator.”

To verify the faithfulness of the movie to recorded events, take a dip into Casanova's Memoirs....

1 comment:

  1. I loved this movie. Made a trip to NYC in high school to buy a bootleg VHS, and I had the pleasure of seeing a 35mm print at the Guggenheim back in 2003 during their retrospective.

    Fun, goofy, surreal, and alternately magical/nightmarish.

    The plastic trashbag ocean was one of my favorite parts!