Blu-ray: Fellini’s Casanova

STUDIO: Kino Lorber | DIRECTOR: Federico Fellini | CAST: Donald Sutherland, Cicely Browne, Carmen Scarpitta, Tina Aumont
RELEASE DATE: Dec. 8, 2020 | PRICE: Blu-ray $19.99
BONUSES: alternate Italian audio track, commentary, booklet
SPECS: R | 154 min. | Foreign language drama | 1.85: 1 widescreen | 2.0 mono | Italian with English subtitles

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

I’ve long been a fan of the films that the great lions of Italian cinema were directing in the Seventies. Having made their bones in the previous couple of decades, they were afforded the respect and, more importantly, the budgets to go for broke in unleashing their most feverish creations right onto the screen. Bertolucci’s 1900,  Visconti’s Ludwig and Pasolini’s Salò and Trilogy of Life are good examples of this.  More then any of them, Fellini really went to town with Satyricon, Roma, Amarcord and, one that’s frequently pushed to the back of the line when considering his films of the era, 1976’s Casanova, Il Maestro’s luxuriously stylized look at the later life of the renowned 18th Century Italian lover.

Sporting a shaved head and a prosthetic nose and chin, Donald Sutherland stars as the Giacomo Casanova, depicted here by Fellini as a degenerate and increasingly weary adventurer whose superficial life has turned him into a shallow, emotionless husk of a man. He engages in a lot of playful behavior and a lot of sex, yes, but he doesn’t appear to be having much fun.

Fellini’s dour but undeniably memorable take on the garish artificiality of his protagonist’s life is perfectly reflected in a setting created in its entirety on the stages of Rome’s Cinecittà Studios. And it’s further accented by the kind of Fellini-esque cinematography, production design and costuming (which won an Oscar for Danilo Donati) that brashly and bawdily reflects its eponymous name.

Kino Lorber’s handsome new edition of the film includes an commentary by critic Nick Pinkerton and a fine booklet essay by Italian film scholar Alberto Zambenedetti.

Buy or Rent Fellini’s Casanova

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.