Fellini Briographer: Marshall Gave Us the "Definitive Homage" in "Nine"

12/27/2009 Posted by Admin

By Christopher Smith

I hated the film (you can read the reasons why in my review of the movie here), but Fellini biographer Charlotte Chandler writes that she apparently didn't. She says this of "Nine":

Rob Marshall has given us the definitive homage to Fellini, always in the spirit of the great Italian director yet never imitating him. I think that Fellini would have been especially pleased by Nine because it is not a re-make of 8½, but a true homage, which stands on its own. I can’t speak for Federico, but I can hear him saying, as he often did, “What do you think, Charlottina?” I almost saw 8 ½ with Federico. During one of my visits to Rome, I was told by Fellini that a small theater was showing the film, many years after its release, and we rushed right over only to find a decrepit cinema, mutilated print, ancient projectors and miserable sound. Except for a snoring man and an attentive dog who seemed to be enjoying the film well enough, the theater was empty.

Fellini rushed out in panic, calling back to me, “You can stay if you wish. I ran out, following him, to Cafe Rosati, to drown our sorrows in coffee and patisserie. That was the day I almost saw 8½ with Federico Fellini.

I knew Fellini well enough to know that he would’ve slid down into a theater seat to see Nine and he definitely wouldn’t have left. Sliding down in the seat was left over from his childhood spent at the Fulgar Cinema in Rimini, when he saw a film he truly enjoyed and didn’t want his mother to find him, and drag him away.

I wish Fellini could have been here to speak for himself about Nine and I know all of you wish it, too.

I believe Federico would have paid this film of Nine his highest compliment. He would’ve called it “Felliniesque.”

Fellini’s life exceeded even his dreams. “Life is the combination of magic and pasta,” he told me, so I believe he would have suggested that after you’ve seen the magic of Nine, you go out and have a meal of delicious pasta.

And then you throw up the meal.

What are your thoughts on the movie?

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  1. Tyler said...

    Hated it! It was nothing like "Chicago." What a disappointment. And you're right, those trailers sold me, but now I feel as if I was sold out. How can this be up for any awards considerations is beyond me.