Juliet of the Spirits

Juliet of the Spirits ★★★½

I think our lives are surely but the dreams of spirits, dwelling in the distant spheres, who as we "die", do one by one awake."

- Edgar Saltus

In Juliet of the Spritis, Fellini shows the life of Juliet, a married woman in a bourgeois family. It shows her various experiences, memories, fantasies and complex psychology, as well as her relationship with other people, shows her family crisis, the crisis of interpersonal relationship and self-crisis, and also shows her dreamy subconscious world and her social environment in which she lives.

Fellini's film uses marriage and family relations as the main clues to show the hypocrisy, lies, spiritual and moral degeneration and decay formed on the basis of such marriage and family relations. Juliet's family is a bourgeois family. She and her husband own a villa on the famous Frejne seafront, which is not something that ordinary families can do, indicating that they are materially rich. In spirit, Juliet is loyal to her husband. She regards the relationship with her husband as "he is for me, I am for him, and he is everything to me." On their wedding anniversary, she wanted to surprise her husband and make him happy. And her husband seemed to want her to be surprised and brought so many friends to celebrate. It seems that this should be a happy family. However, all of this is an illusion, which is not the case in reality. In the relationship between her husband and her, the husband does not regard her as a person. He goes to work in the morning and does not even say hello. He only regards her as his own private property for his enjoyment and play; he can Regardless of her interests, ambitions and hopes, by keeping her at home, he can enslave her, insult her, or even deceive her.

There is no love between them. It is precisely because there is no love that Juliet is most interested in the program "Everyone Gets Love" in that mysterious information-transmitting activity. After waking up the next morning, she was still thinking about this information. Not only is there a lack of love between them, there is no "he for me, I for him" relationship, but there is a deeper problem, that is, he is deceiving her. Juliet found that her husband was calling Gabriela's name clearly in her sleep. Later, she went directly to Gabriela, hoping to discuss the problem and save the family, but ended in failure.

Where should we look for the reason for Juliet's failure? The husband’s search for a new love, moral corruption, arrogance and blatant deception are naturally one of the reasons. On the other hand, from the perspective of Juliet, it has already foreshadowed that her efforts will ultimately fail. The film describes her origin, her relatives, her childhood scenes and her education. She was born in a bourgeois family, her grandfather was a professor, and his grandfather loved her, but left her granddaughter when she eloped with the actress. Juliet's family when she was young was already a broken family. Juliet was sent to a mission school at a very young age because her mother wanted to seek her joy and did not want her little daughter to get in the way. Juliet's mother had no feelings for her, and she didn't even bother to say hello to Juliet when she said goodbye. On the one hand, it was such a cold family. On the other hand, it was the education of the church school, so that she only knew that she would "sacrifice for the saint" and would not hesitate to be burned to death. This kind of education and ethics made her tolerate, seek perfection, and suppress herself in life. The scene of her dreaming of pulling a boat while taking a nap on the beach is a reflection of this depression.

Her struggle and resistance are weak, and when she has clearly figured out the relationship between her husband and Gabriela, she still only seeks some advice for peace. The husband packed up and set off. She knew clearly that she was going to find Gabriela, but she still forbeared again and again. She didn't dare to pierce this layer of window paper. She didn't dare to accuse her husband bravely, so she could only suppress herself. It is this kind of self-sacrifice and self-repression that makes the husband who do what he wants to be more unscrupulous, and it is this that broke the family and made Juliet fail. The film's depiction of marriage breakdown and family disintegration is delicate and profound. It refers to Juliet's weakness, tolerance, self-repression, and the religious education and its ethics and norms that caused this state of mind.

The whole film shows the opposition of two things, two types of characters, and two mental states. These oppositions made Juliet's sickness extremely sharp, made her feel more fearful in the face of life and the people around her, and made her subconscious imaginations and hallucinations materialized, and thus turned into a monster, a wizard, and ghosts.

Juliet is a serious person with a serious attitude towards life. However, in real life, she is incompatible with others. Whether it is those who engage in mysterious information transmission activities in her home, the Indian, and those from the private detective company, they are in stark contrast with Juliet. They can't communicate with Juliet, can't communicate, can't understand each other. The more obvious opposition to Juliet is Susie. Juliet is serious about marriage, while Susie does not want to get married at all. She is young and lively, and just wants to have fun in this garden. Her fiance turned out to be an old man who could be her father, but she was satisfied because he has sex every night and is very capable. Not only was she cynical, but she also wanted Juliet to be as slutty as her, and arranged Juliet with the same man in a big house. It can be said that Susie is a model of openness. On this occasion, Juliet suddenly heard the question of "What are you going to do?" This was a question in her heart, a subconscious reaction, and thus avoided the man. This proves that she is a self-disciplined person. The antagonism, or contrast, between her and Susie made her feel more deeply that not only her husband deceived herself, not only there was no feeling, no communication, no friendship, no love between the two of them, but also the world outside the family, Together with the lack of these things between people in this world, there are only sex, money relations and mutual use based on enjoyment.

Therefore, she had an illusion that the people in Susie's Garden were terrifying, like ghosts, and even the originally beautiful garden was terrifying. In this way, whether it is Juliet's inner world or the outer world outside her, she has a terrible feeling: there is no human feelings anywhere, no one, no relationship between people, no love. There is no friendship, no beauty, no truth, no real people, there are just elves, or more accurately ghosts. This is the society in which Juliet lives, her external relationship. Such a society makes her self-depressive person even more depressed, suffocates her, and makes her intolerable. Therefore, what suffocates Juliet is not only the unsuccessful husband who tried to get rid of her and deceived her, but also the people around him and the outside world.

So, she said she wanted her husband to abandon her, and Susie said that Juliet was "free". Finally, the husband left, but what Juliet felt was not freedom and relief. She still felt the horrible scenes and weird people before her eyes. She still felt suffocated and terrified. This woman who grew up under the bourgeoisie and religious education, although able to tolerate and suppress herself, still suffered a heavy blow in front of her marriage and society, and ultimately failed. Her self-tolerance and self-repression are caused by religious education, and the drawback of this education is precisely the suppression of her personality. Juliet's ideals are the house, home, husband, god, and church. The husband is the master, and the wife should be tamed and obeyed. This kind of self-tolerance and self-repression embodies holiness. Holiness is opposed to sin. Like sin, this holiness also suppresses individuality and originality. Under repression, there can be no natural love, nor can there be natural emotional expressions. Therefore, Juliet's marriage and family will also break down. In other words, the relationship between people based on the bourgeoisie and religious morality will eventually collapse. What the film wants to show is that people should be rescued from interpersonal relationships that hinder the normal development and natural emotional communication between each other.

The first hour is quite stressful, but the last half hour is worth five stars (if it wasn't for that aweful soundtrack, which doesn't fit the nightmarish and surreal tone at all): gorgeous and full of imagination, the embodiment of inner desires, inner dramas no longer rely on monologues, dreams and consciousness can be filmed like this! One by one defeats the demons, breaks free from marriage yokes, family shadows, childhood nightmares, saves the childhood self, without flashbacks and other techniques, strange and layered, the best written love letter for Masina. However, it is undoubtedly a little stupid by Fellini to deconstruct women with the method of his 8 1/2. The ones who really understand women are directors like Woody, Almodovar and others. The women in their films have very different styles but are real and lively. Unfortunetely Fellini isn't quite up there.