City of Women: The Fellini-esque Edit

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Brief Synopsis:
A fanfix of Fellini’s late career City of Women that’s less shrill, more dreamlike, less defensive,
After the late-career success of Amarcord (1973) Fellini suffered a couple missteps and seemed to be losing his way. In 1980 returned to what seemed like safe ground, a sexual adventure starring his muse and cinematic alter ego Marcello Mastroianni for City of Women. Marcello follows (or is led) by many mysterious women and finds himself first in a labyrinthine hotel during a feminist convention then stranded on the road surrounded and hounded by various beautiful, militant, singing and/or nagging women (and also meets an extraordinary cocksman). This dreamlike fantasia follows our hero as he confronts his ideas about femininity and masculine attitudes in relation to the “fair” sex.


The film feels more like Fellini-lite. It’s less surreal than simply visually indulgent; its editorial strategy relies on conventional shot/reverse shot construction and adherence to geographical blocking in contrast to his heady ‘60s period. It also treats the topic of feminism rather self-defensively and harshly and reduces Marcello/ Snaporaz to an adolescent observer, a victim rather than master of his obsessions. Fellini later said the cluelessness of Snaporaz was the point – women are such mysteries men can’t ever understand them. So Fellini doesn't analyze Snaporaz’s faults and fails to come to a real resolution; the film feels reactionary and reveals an unease with female empowerment.

The depiction of feminine viewpoints, especially during the feminist convention is shrill and dismissive, a likely reaction to Fellini’s self-acknowledged post-war Italian misogyny that had fallen out of favor. The film is further hobbled by a tension between its apparent acceptance of adolescent libertinism and the grudging acknowledgement a more enlightened approach between the sexes is required - something Fellini seldom concerned himself with (Juliet of the Spirits notwithstanding). It’s a film full of contradictions. It feels over-stuffed yet half-baked, trying too hard and never transcends its original concept as one chapter in a planned anthology.

The tone isn’t helped by the fact Fellini’s longtime soundtrack collaborator Nino Rota had died and Luis Bakalov’s score doesn’t reach the same ethereal flights of fancy.

Other Sources:
-2 cues from Nino Rota's Toby Dammit (1968) score from Nino Rota LSD Roma CD (El/ Cherry Red Records, 2005)
-cue "La Bambola #4" from Ennio Morricone's "Veruschka" (1971) OST CD (Point Records, 1995)
-subtitles on "La Citta delle Donna" Eureka/ Masters of Cinema blu-ray (2013) for reference (different translation than on Cohen's blu-ray)
-German subtitle track (on which I translated back into English which in some cases was a more literal version of the Italian original. This helped me steer and refine my subtitle track knowing liberties were taken in the other translations
Special Thanks:
First of all to Dwight Fry who adopted this suggested fanedit and moved me from the merely good to the near perfect; to ArtisDead who guided me visually and helped me land this plane without it getting shot out of the sky by drunk girls at night parked in a dune buggy and for his poster and trailer suggestions; and finally to WXM who first got me into this fine mess, sharing and advising me on other projects. The first one was free. To all of them I owe a cheese wheel, a dusty bottle of port, one good luck and a hearty handclasp.
Release Information:
Editing Details:
There’s certainly something compelling in the 139-minute original. In order to make it feel more like “classic” era Fellini I made almost 200 small cuts throughout, mostly of redundant and “establishing” shots, beginnings and ends of shots and those shot/reverse-shot configurations to speed up Snaporaz’s progress through this fantasia. I cut many of the more strident and angry bits by the feminists and emphasized the slightly-disorienting over the logical geographical blocking Fellini and his long-time editor (Ruggero Mastroianni) employed here. I embraced and kept the sheer variety of the images of events, striving to increase the sense of a conscious dream.

19 minutes cut. I wasn’t trying to eviscerate or rewrite the film, only nip-and-tuck. I’m aiming for a less angry, more sex-positive, faster flowing, dreamy, “affectionate and sweet” version of this dive into 1980s sexual politics.
Cuts and Additions:
-I shortened almost every sequence with many mini-cuts and speed-ups.
-Cut most instances of angry or aggressive anti-men sentiments in the feminist convention and later sequences which over-index the anger (that some feminists certainly felt at the time). Idea is to make film explorative of eroticism without feeling so confrontational.
-Conversely I kept all playful asides whenever directed at Snaporaz.
-Playlets in the convention were cut (housewife, bodystocking couple).
-I trimmed Snaporaz’s occasional sexist comments and made him a more “willing” participant. Less shots of him looking nervous or annoyed while keeping all shots of general bemusement.
-No kicking the dummy in the balls during the skating sequence.
-Cut many shots in the car-ride-to-station sequence focusing more on Snaporaz on a wild ride, less on how weird/ high the girls were.
-Trimmed Dr. Katzone sequence with many mini-cuts (but less than elsewhere - he’s the thematic balance of the film).
-3000 r.p.m. dildo bit cut. (Seemed a cheap joke.)
-Trimmed Snaporaz’s talk with his wife – her complaints slightly less on insulting characteristics and more on mere personal incompatibilities.
-Tightened/ sped up Snaporaz’s witchcraft-dream/ slide sequence to be less random everything-Snaporaz-ever-experienced sequence and hewing closer to theme of his sexual development/ awakening. Slide ride path less “linear” by cutting shots. Less masturbating in the cinema. Circle of Death bike-girls cut.
-That said, all other sexy bits retained. It’s critical texture of the piece.
-Litany of Snaporaz’s faults read-out at tribunal shortened. Tried to adjust tone of accusations slightly from petty to more affectionate foibles.
-Fellini’s last 15 minutes remain pretty much intact.
-I replaced or added cues from Rota’s Toby Dammit score (1968), lesser known tracks that tie it closer to Rota era.
-Added a cue "La Bambola #4" from Ennio Morricone’s Veruschha soundtrack (1971) in a couple places, mostly at Donatella appearances to underscore her primary position in Snaporaz's journey.
-I referenced a German subtitle track and retranslated it in many instances to get more accurate translations and make slight (textually close) adjustments to reflect the more female-friendly tone for my edit (the English subtitles on the Cohen and Eureka took some liberties).

Original is 2.19.29. Final runtime 1.59.55 14% cut.

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(Updated: October 10, 2023)
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This movie is an allegorical statement of the women's liberation movement disguised as a dreamy refrain about a man dangerously lost in an imaginary feminist world. It also seems to be a satire of our male dominated society.

Our protagonist is a stranger in a strange land but he could just as easily be mistaken for sanity in an insane world.

Fellini paints a tapestry of surreal exhibitionism in a landscape that seems all to familiar to him.

I had a difficult time making it through the original film (which I purchased so that I could finish the review and approval of this edit), especially the first half. This edit moves a bit quicker but things really take off in the second half. Our protagonist is Snaporaz, a classy but perverted older man. He encounters a beautiful temptress on a train, instantly decides he must have sex with her and impulsively follows her when she exits the train. He has a hallucinogenic journey with some rebellious females and ends up at covention of serious feminists.

From here things just get stranger and stranger. At some point I was thinking that I had a hallucination.

RodgerDodger had a few things to cut to make the movie more palatable. It's a good movie and an even better edit. It's just very very strange.

Pink Floyd would blush...I enjoyed the edit far more than the movie and would watch it several more times just to try to understand the strange genius of it.

Highly recommended! Buy the movie but don't unwrap it. Go straight to this edit!

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