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Juliet Of The Spirits

Cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's masterful use of Technicolor transforms Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini's first color feature, into a kaleidoscope of dreams, spirits, and memories. Giulietta Masina plays a betrayed wife whose inability to come to te...

Juliet of the Spirits

The spirits of both sides begin to combine during the garden party, but they are shown in isolating shots, never together in the same frame. They are bubbling to her conscious mind without an external source of stimulation because her mind is more confused over what to do about Giorgio. She is letting her defenses down, and the two sides seize the opportunity to begin the onslaught of images from the nuns lined in rows to Iris disguised as Venus, all intermixed with the party-goers, as if they too were invited. Eye-line matches and point of view style camera movements tells us she can see them, and she seems able to stop them at this point by simply focusing enough to tell them to go away. When Giorgio leaves she can no longer control them. She tries to tell them to leave during the onslaught, and they seem to, for a second, only to return with more confusion. Her conscious can no longer hide; action must be taken.

Freeing herself, she causes the spirits downstairs to disappear into the night, and she finds her self-love, shown in the act of the Giuliettas hugging each other. Self-love, and from it self-acceptance of who she is, was something held in check by her upbringing which dictated love to God instead. Iris and her minions were preaching love yourself by loving everyone physically. Neither version of love was strong enough to win her to their side. Self-love needed to be attained to form any type of identity that would allow her to move out of her Church created world where she was a prisoner to the world of her grandfather, who at the end has landed his plane on her front lawn to say good-bye. By accepting that either side is not sufficient without loving yourself, she no longer needs to hold onto her grandfather and the ballerina as her unconscious idea of what love can be. She now has them in her conscious appraisal of herself.

Juliet, a well-to-do housewife with no children (Giulietta Masina), prepares an anniversary party for her businessman husband Giorgio (Mario Pisu), only to have him ruin her romantic hopes by bringing home a dozen friends. Giorgio is staying away from the house far too frequently, and she hears him speaking another woman's name in bed. Private detectives confirm his philandering, and Juliet is heartbroken. Without ever revealing the reason for her sadness, she turns to friends and their friends for some kind of answer, but finds them all pursuing personal illusions. Sculptress Dolores (Silvana Jachino) imagines she has a relationship with all of her beefcake models. The Bhisma (Valeska Gert) is a weird guru who recommends sex as a universal cure-all. Giuletta's bizarre neighbor Suzy (Sandra Milo) lives a hedonistic life taking care of disturbed women and servicing a steady progression of men. Giulietta tries to give in to her fantasies with Suzy but cannot. Giulietta's mother (Caterina Boratto) and sisters are alternately critical and self-absorbed, her lawyer and a Brazilian visitor make unwelcome overtures, and she finds herself retreating into memories of her black-sheep Grandfather (Lou Gilbert) and her own childhood in Catholic school, playing a saint burned at the stake in a school play. After a seance, she starts hearing the disembodied voices, including that of Laura, a childhood friend who killed herself over love. Giulietta initially rejects the spirits, but her inability to get Giorgio to admit to his infidelity, and a general disillusion with the rest of her relationships, turns her back to the voices' comforting company.

PLOT: Juliet, a wealthy housewife, has reason to suspect her husband is cheating on her. She has always been attuned to the spirit world, and after a seance she begins seeing visions and hearing voices; one of the whispering entities tells her that her neighbor, the strange, sexually liberated Suzy, will be her teacher. As her marriage disintegrates, her visions become harder to distinguish from reality, until Juliet snaps and banishes the spirits.

02/06/17 By Ruth Firestone Hays music supporter Put a heart around Feb. 11 on your calendar, write in 7 or 7:30 p.m. and head over to FHSU's Beach-Schmidt Performing Arts Center for a free Valentine's concert and post-concert reception. Conductor Shah Sadikov will launch the festivities at 7 with a brief introduction to the music. Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture," begun in 1869, did not reach its final form until 1880. His mentor had suggested that he write a piece based on Shakespeare's tragedy. Its themes may indirectly reflect the characters and events of "Romeo and Juliet," but it stands on its own as a passionate statement of love intertwined with doom, borne of Tchaikovsky's grief and frustration at a love that could never be fulfilled. The love theme, an icon of Western music, is used frequently to prefigure scenes of love about to be consummated or maybe not. A complete change of pace will follow or, one might say, human love yields to divine love. Cellist Benjamin Cline will collaborate with the orchestra in "Kol Nidrei," published in 1881 by the German composer Max Bruch. The work is based on two Hebrew melodies, the "Kol Nidrei" of the title and Isaac Nathan's arrangement of "Birkat Kohanim" (Nathan, from England, eventually became the father of Australian music). "Kol Nidrei," "all vows," are the first two words of a prayer chanted at the beginning of the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) at sunset on the day before the holy day. "Birkat Kohanim," "lifting of the hands," is the title of a priestly blessing given with hands raised. Bruch was not Jewish, but, according to Wikipedia, "only wished to incorporate Jewish inspirations into his own compositions." The concert will end with music that everybody loves, Alexander Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from the unfinished opera "Prince Igor." (The Russians called the Cumans, a group of Turkic nomads, Polovtsky.) As described by the critic Jessica Schilling, "Borodin's bright tone colors, graceful melodic lines, and energetic rhythms create a general feeling of celebration and enthusiasm." The Polovtsian dances are so effective in conjuring not only feelings but visions of people enjoying themselves boisterously in exotic surroundings, that they, like Tchaikovsky's fantasy, recur time after time in popular tradition. "Kismet," the hit Broadway show, later movie, is just one example. I predict all who attend the concert will dance out into the lobby of Beach-Schmidt filled to the brim with love and high spirits and in the mood for refreshments at the post-concert reception, sponsored by Insurance Planning. Tickets may be picked up at the door, or in advance by contacting 041b061a72


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