Intervista (1987)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Comedy, Satire  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - Italy   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Wheeler Winston Dixon

Federico Fellini is gone from us now, with the sad consequence that there are no new Fellini films for us to view; but happily, before his death, he created a cinematic autobiography in Intervista, which shows the director at work at Cinecitta, surrounded by his associates from former films, most notably Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg. A young group of cineastes follows Fellini around for much of the film as he makes preparations for a film that doesn't seem to have any particular shape or direction, much like Fellini's masterpiece 8 1/2 (1963). But in 8 1/2, the future was all before him; now, Fellini has only the past, and he knows it. The scene in which Mastroianni and Ekberg watch themselves in Fellini's epic of modern decadence, La Dolce Vita (1960), is absolutely heartbreaking. On the screen, they are forever young; on the sofa, watching themselves nearly 30 years earlier, death awaits. There are numerous jokes about illness, impotence, the passing of time, and the vicissitudes of cinematic fortune, and Fellini presides over the entire affair with a benign air of resignation. Intervista isn't so much a film as it is a meditation on a life lived in the cinema; it is an inescapably minor work, and it knows it, but it is also a deeply felt examination of ambition and mortality. Once seen, the film will never been wholly forgotten; it reminds one of Jean Cocteau's dictum that "film shows us death at work." Intervista is a must-see for all Fellini fans, and a gentle and nostalgic valentine to his viewers, and to his own past.