Orchestra Rehearsal

An allegory doesn't have to be psychologically consistent, but when a film begins with a montage of musicians discussing their love for their instruments and their craft and ends with the selfsame players smashing and slashing everything in sight merely to make an obvious point about political anarchy, you can't help but feel cheated. Federico Fellini's 70-minute film (1979), which uses an orchestra as an image of Italy, changes the rules every few minutes: there are some affecting monologues, but the personalities are ultimately lost to the sterile metaphors—which hold none too steady themselves. Fellini's films often seem lazy, but this one looks plain tired. His patented freneticism has a forced, sluggish quality here, and even his Day-Glo color schemes have degenerated into pale browns and grays.

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