Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits ★★★½

Fellini's first departure from black and white feels like he thought he might never get to use color again, a two and a half hour explosion of it to tell an incredibly simple and semi-biographical tale of infidelity and self-discovery. It stars his wife and frequent collaborator Giulietta Masina after a hiatus of several films as a stand-in also named Giulietta. Suspicious of her husband and a believer in the supernatural, she begins having a series of visions following a séance that sometimes relive moments of her childhood and other times go to more abstract or disturbing places.

The end effect is a sort of liberation achieved only through this surreal journey. It feels crazy to call this self-indulgent when his next film is Satyricon, and I'm hardly coming to Fellini for restraint, but the length of Juliet of the Spirits is a big ask when it strays further and further into the visions. The magnificent final 10 minutes or so does rely on a cumulative effect of the visitations I just don't think it needed as much as we get here. It really is a great ending though and Masina is predictably great to carry this one through.