City of Women

Director: Federico Fellini
Year Released: 1980
Rating: 3.0

Fellini stand-in Marcello Mastroianni dreams he's in a world of progressive-minded females who have it in for men of all ages and, in particular, hapless Marcello, who is close to middle age but still randy as ever. Though Dave Kehr is correct that Fellini, for his later films, thoroughly ignored the basic rules of standard narrative filmmaking (and all that nastiness about character development and plotting) there's something in this that sticks - it can certainly be viewed as a companion piece to the female-fantasy Juliet of the Spirits, but there's something more personal and melancholy about this (it's also a meditation on aging and memory). I think the overall impression, about women being unknowable, complicated and threatening, hits with me as a male viewer - it's so fitting that Marcello's 'dream-girl' is a balloon that takes him to the sky ... only to be shot down by machine gun fire (dream girls essentially being pure fantasy). For non-Fellini acolytes, lower the rating for this a few points, but sometimes you just gotta humor an old guy with a subconscious this insane - they don't make every filmmaker's name an adjective for the fantastic.