DVD: In Search of Fellini

STUDIO: Samuel Goldwyn | DIRECTOR: Taron Lexton | CAST: Ksenio Solo, Maria Bello, Mary Lynn Rajskub, David O’Donnell
RELEASE DATE: Jan. 23, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $14.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurette
SPECS: R | 103 min. | Drama adventure | 2.31:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie   | Audio   | Video   | Overall

A little charmer of a movie, In Search of Fellini is a coming-of-age adventure that also serves as a love letter to travel lust and the glorious films of the great Federico Fellini.

Ksenia Solo is small–town gal in 1993 Ohio whose life until her belated adolescence has been sweetly stunted under the smothering love of her mother Claire (Maria Bello, Beautiful Boy), who refuses to let her daughter experience any of life’s darker experiences. (She even convinces Lucy that her dog hasn’t died, but rather gone off on an extended vacation.) This works until the 20-year-old Lucy stumbles into a screening of Fellini’s masterful La Strada at that year’s famed Tutto Fellini Film Festival. One glance at Guilietta Masina and Lucy is hooked, prompting her to watch all the Maestro’s films on video and then set out to Italy to meet him. Just as Lucy is setting out for what’s sure to be a Fellini-esque adventure, her mom learns that she is dying of an incurable disease…

Ksenia Solo and Maria Bello in In Search of Fellini.

Lucy’s experiences as a real life modern-day Giulietta in Verona, Venice and Rome find her getting drunk on rum pastries, stumbling into castles, churches and clock towers who’s inhabitants prove to be the living embodiment of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, Satyricon and Casanova (clips of which occasionally pop up, along with the rest of Fellini’s ouevre) and, of course, falling in love with a beautiful Italian boy who finds Lucy even prettier than she finds him. All of this goes down as Claire takes to her bed in Ohio and pops Fellini’s films into the VCR, joined by her best friend (Mary Lynn Rajskub, Wilson) who wonders, “Oh my God, who watches this!?”

Directed by Taron Lexton and co-written and co-exec-produced by Nancy “Bart Simpson” Cartwright, In Search of Fellini is inspired by Cartwright’s own experiences some quarter-of-a-century ago. Overall, the independent effort is well-paced, well-acted and quite lovely, save for a near-assault sequence in the second half that reminds us that unpleasant realities can smudge even the most picturesque of settings.

Fellini fans, keep an eye out for a character named Beppe near the end, played by stately Bruno Zanin, who you may recognize from his turn as a playful teen in Fellini’s 1973 Amarcord!

Buy or Rent In Search of Fellini

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.