Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits ★★★★

For me, Fellini is never better than when he's working with Giulietta Masina, his wife and frequent muse, but in contrast to their masterful synergy in Nights of Cabiria, they serve as something more like reconciling energies in Juliet of the Spirits. Masina's presence is consistently earthbound through Fellini's surreal, colorful (for the first time) and often hypersexualized flights of fancy, like a stoically poised commentator consistently reminding us exactly whose fantasy we're looking at, despite the plot's suggestions otherwise. This internal commentary does nothing to diminish the effect of the film, though, as from the circus to the church pageant to the truly terrifying images of Juliet's childhood friend Laura burning as no one else seems to notice, Fellini offers one indelible image after another. Some call this the beginning of the end for Fellini, but it still feels like an utter knockout from here.