Synopsis by Robert Firsching
This evocative look at a 1914 ocean voyage to scatter the ashes of a world-famous opera singer (Janet Suzman) is by turns charming, funny, and bizarre. Among the ship's passengers are aristocrats, politicians, singers, and a rhinoceros. Their episodic interactions form the core of the film, with complications (including a group of refugee Serbs boarding the vessel) carefully orchestrated by screenwriters Federico Fellini and Tonino Guerra to highlight the decay of European society prior to World War I. The ship sails on an artificial ocean against an artificial sky, crafted by art director Dante Ferretti in the studios of Cinecitta, with a result that is both disconcerting and oddly comforting.
ship, voyage, opera-singer, funeral, cremation, refugee, assassination