Voice of the Moon

Voice of the Moon
(Federico Fellini, 1990)
Rating: 3/5
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: The great Italian director Fellini bids arrivederci in typical madcap style with Voice of the Moon - a film with glimmers of brilliance.
It's no secret that Federico Fellini made some of the all-time great films: 8½, La Dolce Vita, Roma, La Strada, Amarcord… these are magical, kinetic and engaging films that often pushed the limits of how fantasy and fiction could entwine themselves on screen. As his films went on, he became quite nostalgic and self-referential (some might say pretentious), creating eccentric statements that perplexed and delighted audiences around the world.
Voice of the Moon, his final feature, fits that bill. It's the product of a director who is untouchable in reputation and can get away with doing whatever he wants but it's also partly owned by his somewhat odd choice of a leading man: Life is Beautiful's Roberto Benigni. Certainly nowhere near as charming and magnetic as Fellini's classic lead Marcello Mastroianni, Benigni does breathe new and apparently improvised madcap life into the old dog.
Practically bouncing off the sides of the frame, Benigni plays Ivo Salvini, a man who has recently been released from a mental hospital (presumably without complete medical sign-off) with a passion for Aldini (Nadia Ottaviani) prompting him to go on a strange journey of love across a dreamlike landscape that sees him bound across magnificent countryside locales and rave to Michael Jackson.
Established Fellini fans may notice some of the sign-posts as the auteur nods and winks to his former glories by way of a scattershot portrait of a man's self-discovery and love in an absurd world but Fellini newcomers may find themselves with scratched heads instead of tickled ribs. This lacks the discipline and magic of Fellini's finest works. As a complimentary career swan song, there's plenty to admire as this old dog barks at the moon.
SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
  • Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original 1.0 mono sound (uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Towards the Moon with Fellini, a rarely seen hour-long documentary on the film's production, featuring interviews with Fellini, Roberto Benigni and Paolo Villagio
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain
  • FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone

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