Blame my pal, Ing. I recently visited her at one of her cool places of employment (ah, it must be nice to be employed!) and discovered a way cool book called, “Fellini’s Faces” which features pictures of all Fellini’s personal favorite actors who have appeared in his films. It is fantastic. Anyway, it sort of got me to thinking that I had never sat myself down and watched my DVD of the FELLINI CASANOVA. I believe it can only be found in France for now, but I read a rumor that Criterion might be bringing it to DVD for the rest of the world at some point next year.

I guess I must have bee 9 going on 10 when my father took me to see it in the cinema. I remember not understanding much of anything I saw and falling asleep — spilling my popcorn all over the floor. And, it gave me a nightmare. I was confused by a scene where it seemed like Donald Sutherland was doing something very wrong to a life size doll. Either he didn’t understand or my father was too into what we were watching to explain. But, that gave me a serious nightmare. Fellini film sort of went crazy after he discovered acid and made JULIET OF THE SPIRITS and FELLINI SATYRICON. …and, personally, I’m glad he took that trip because he created some incredible images. His films are still bold, experimental and work on many levels. However, logic is not one of those levels upon which a lot of his work rests.
…donald sutherland as the ultimate, but reluctant lover is only able to really connect to another when she is an ‘it’ and not a person… The doll of my childhood nightmares.

I had the chance to see FELLINI CASANOVA back in the early 90’s in Boston at Harvard University. The print shown was in poor shape, the imagery and concept of the work blew me away. True, the film was flawed. Too long, a narrative structure that is a bit too challenging to follow and a lead actor who is more than miscast — Donald Sutherland looks confused and worried. I remember thinking, “Wow, you can tell he is dying to rake his agent over the goals for this one!” I was too young and have not read up enough to know if this film was a hit. But, I think it is considered one of his few cinematic mistakes by most. That is really too bad because the film shines despite the flaws. I am hard pressed to think of a more interestingly photographed or beautifully filmed movie. Filmed in the amazing and legendary studio sets in Italy with the ultimate Fellini cast of oddities, misfits and the oddly sexy. Um, let’s not forget that this was Chesty Morgan’s one and only bid for legit work! Small part. You’ll hardly notice her. …and, that says a lot for the visuals that Fellini puts in front of the camera. The set design, the costumes, the special effects (or lack thereof), the incredible N. Rota score, the vibrant use of color, the surreal impact and those faces! It is a film that one is unable to deny! Even at 2 hours and 46 minutes, it feels more like a little under 2 hours. Fellini knew how to hold your attention. Ken Russell must have been green with envy. And, there is no way that this film did not influence Peter Greenaway’s PROSPERO’s BOOKS!

One thing is for sure, this is NOT your Heath Ledger Casanova. This is an exploration of what happens when sex becomes as meaningless as a handshake. Casanova is presented as a bit fey, weary and constantly struggling to prove that he is more than a just a great lover. However, all anyone he meets cares about is his abilities to do “it” like no other. Fellini teases the audience into thinking that we may enter the realm of the erotic at any moment, but instead we enter the world of the exact opposite. There is plenty of simulated sex, but it is all mechanical and essentially dry humping with either anger, boredom or aggression being the most obvious emotion at play during the fluid exchanges. But Fellini never seems to feel the need to make it grim — the sex scenes are quite comical. Casanova carries a bizarre sort of sex clock that he almost seems to need to get it up. As he gets to humping, the phallic owl starts to tick faster and grow longer and longer. The ridiculousness of it all is funny.

However, there is a sadness at play. A loneliness that makes you feel some empathy for this lost and bittering soul who dreams of being accepted as an intellectual but, in the end is just a silly sexual diversion for the wealthy. In the end, if one is to be forced into a world of dry humps — the most enjoyable and erotic moments are bound to be shared with a robotic doll. The closing scene of Casanova taking on the doll-like effect of his fuck doll lover as they skate on the ice over the long-ago frozen goddess of fertility is one of both the beautiful and the really ugly.

See it.

February 20, 2006. Uncategorized.


  1. thomas replied:

    That is one of the movies you sent me a while back and I’ve been saving it for a special occasion to sit and enjoy it, I guess I have something to see after Ma Mere! The way you describe movies makes me want to see them.

  2. ing replied:

    Oh my god, that sounds incredibly good! Scary, though, incredibly scary; that doll — aaaaaaah! Have you seen M?

    Hey, Matty, do you like this as much as I do? Because if you do, I think your mom lied about your true birthdate and you’re really a Saggitarius, as I suspected all along.

  3. matt replied:

    Thomas — Oh, that’s right! I had forgotten! I had received a bootleg copy of it! Watch it! Most trippy and pretty! And, I think it was a fair duplication.

    Ing — yeah, the doll is creepy, but I think was scared me most as a child was seeing Casanova turn into a doll, too. I didn’t get the symbolism or metaphor at 9. AND, I totally LOVE that!!!!!!! And, I think I might be in love with the boy who keeps giving the thumbs up! Yummmmmy! Where do we find the CD!?!?!!? Where?!?!?!? So, should I just start telling people I am a Saggitarius? Maybe I should try scanning my chart and posting it. ???? …or, is that too personal? Hmmmm…

    What to wear to this interview??? By the way, I’ve decided I am just going to stay there till they hire me. It’s that simple. I just won’t leave! And, at worst, I might get frisked by a hot cop….

    My cop porn fantasies… they always lead to trouble.

  4. ginab replied:

    Oh, here’s a documentary, Born Liar, of our man F.

    ‘Splains a lot about Casanova and really enchanted me flat out. There’s one disturbing clip and it’s not Fellini or anything from his movies, but Italo Calvino (I dun-no what he talks about, eh). I only see a third rental in my near future.


    PS: I’ve only known three Sags (as I call them). My sister who flew away (as in, up and phooey I’m not taking this crap flew), my grandpa who was the easiest-goingest-funniest man, and silly-billy, smarty-party, eloquent animal Ing.

  5. ing replied:

    You should have seen the cop who pulled me over for speeding in Palo Alto! Yow!!

    Oh, and I just found out what bukkake is — ewww! I like the video and I like the cute guys in it. But I’m really not interested in bukkake.

  6. matt replied:

    Gina — Oh! Thank you for this link! I’ve been hearing about BORN LIAR!!!
    …sometimes, well no — all the time. I just want to fly away.

    Ing — How you tease! Fess up! What is it!?!?!?
    ..is it like “cake” ????

  7. ginab replied:

    Ever the friend, I know, I know, to save you further stress, Matt: Bukkake.

    I’m going now to wash my hands and mouth.

  8. matt replied:

    OH! Bukkake! I was just doing that the other day!


    …that’s a gay porn staple! LOL!

  9. ing replied:

    Ewwww, bukkake! And I thought it was some cute Japanese skiier!

  10. Dessie replied:

    I hope you can all see now why I was so shocked when that link turned up, I knew what that awful thing was 😀

  11. matt replied:

    Hi kids! Sorry I’m late getting to my blog. Just got in from a heavy bukkake session in the mission. …and boy, am I sticky!

    (uh, that’s a joke)

    …well, sort of.

  12. Dessie replied:


  13. Meredith replied:

    You’re dad took you to a Fellini film. I so have the wrong life.

  14. matt replied:

    Dessie — Does this mean you, me and your guy aren’t going to meet up and do the B dance? …I’m hurt.

    Meredith — Trust me. Not a life you would have wanted! LOL! Really!!!!

  15. Dessie replied:

    There are some places I just don’t go, babe 😀

  16. matt replied:

    Dessie — I’m hurt. …and this goes against what I’ve been reading about you over on some of the UK sites! I feel so — ejac, uh, rejected.

  17. joe replied:

    I love Peter Greenaway, though I couldn’t like Prospero’s books. And I fell asleep during fellini satyricon. but there was this filmmaker i was sorta seeing years ago that had a wonderful poster he made from a scene he captured from the movie. now when I think about fellini satyricon, I think of his cats, the roaches under the kitchen cupboards and the semi child porn under his bed.

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