Magnani’s farewell to film was this fitting send-off from Federico Fellini, a sprawling, kaleidoscopic tribute to the city that the actress embodied. Told in a delirious, stream-of-consciousness rush, it’s a hallucinatory trip through the director’s memories and fantasies, the whorehouses, palazzi, and catacombs of Rome both past and present. Among the dazzlingly surreal images: an epic nighttime traffic jam filmed through the gauzy wash of rain-streaked windshields; an outré Catholic fashion show of au courant papal wear; and a haunting journey into the ancient tunnels of a vanished Roman Empire. What emerges is a funny, outrageous, mystical portrait of a city both ever-changing and eternal.
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