Roma (Fellini's) (1972)

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Released 22-Sep-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1972
Running Time 113:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Federico Fellini
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Peter Gonzales
Fiona Florence
Britta Barnes
Pia De Doses
Marne Maitland
Renato Giovannoli
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Nino Rota


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Spanish
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Hungarian
Greek
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Federico Fellini is a director famous for the use of bizarre, fantastic, textured, and symbolic imagery in his films. He also has a love/hate relationship with the Eternal City of Rome. In Roma, he combines both trademarks of his directorial style into a film about Rome itself.

    Like many of his films, this is not quite a travelogue, not quite a work of fiction, and not quite an autobiography, but it contains elements of all three. The "plot" as such is about Fellini's impressions of Rome, both today and in the past of his boyhood, as well as ancient history.

    It starts off with references to Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar, surely the greatest Roman emperor of all, seen through the eyes of a history teacher taking his students across the Rubicon, a tramp commenting on a statue, a stage production of Julius Caesar, a classroom, watching a film, ...

    We then see a young Federico Fellini, first as a boy, then a young man entering Rome for the first time, and experiencing its sights and wonders during the Mussolini years. He arrives at the train station to a boarding house and later on samples the bizarre food at a piazza at night.

    We then get to see the adult Fellini shooting a film about Rome. A camera crew passes the toll gates, and takes the highway towards the city. Along the way, the traffic becomes increasingly bizarre and dense, and it starts raining mud. The scene culminates in the mother of all traffic jams right outside the Coliseum.

    Fellini then shows us various aspects of "modern day" Rome, including a busload of American tourists, a variety show, hippies intermingled with Fellini's memories of his youth during the war and his experience visiting a brothel. A really interesting scene shows a group of people discovering an ancient Roman house full of frescoes deep underneath the city during the construction of a subway tunnel. The beautiful frescoes literally disappear before their eyes as they are exposed to the modern day air.

    We then see a truly bizarre fashion parade, and the film ends with a group of motorcycles touring around the city in the middle of the night.

    The film is fairly episodic in nature, and there is no "plot" as such, but I felt that it told quite an interesting story about a fascinating city nevertheless. There are many parallels between this film and another of Fellini's films, Satyricon, but this is the more accessible and palatable of the two (although it's worthwhile to watch both as a double feature, which I did). One can imagine Emolpio and Ascilto walking around the streets of modern day Rome, and having adventures along the way. I wonder what they will think of what Rome has become?

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a widescreen 1.66:1 letterboxed transfer (not 16x9 enhanced) based on a 35mm film print. 1.66:1 is the intended aspect ratio, so as transfers go this is not too bad.

    The film print looks like it may have been restored, because it is fairly clean. Detail levels are good, as well as colour saturation.

    Grain is ever-present, ranging from almost unnoticeable to moderate levels. However, I did not find the grain annoying - it somehow added to the "feel" of the film.

    I did not notice any compression artefacts.

    There are several subtitle tracks, including English for the Hearing Impaired, German for the Hearing Impaired, and various other European languages. I turned on the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track, but cannot comment on its accuracy since I don't understand Italian that well.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs at the end of Chapter 8, around 58:51 at a natural pause on a building, so it should be unnoticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are several audio tracks on this disc: German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s), and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). I listened to the Italian audio track.

    I suspect the audio track is in mono, since I did not hear any stereo effects. As audio tracks go, this is about average given the film's age. Dialogue was okay, and there were no audio synchronization issues.

    The original music score is by famous Italian film composer Nino Rota, and suits the film well.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The only extra is a theatrical trailer.

Menu

    The menus are full frame and static. There are several menu languages available.

Theatrical Trailer (2:40)

    This is presented in approximately 1.85:1 (letterboxed, no 16x9 enhancement) and Dolby Digital 2.0

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    I would rate both R1 and R4 as being substantially similar.

Summary

    Fellini's Roma is an intensely personal, and somewhat autobiographical perspective of the Eternal City from one of its most famed film directors.

    The video transfer quality is good.

    The audio transfer quality is average.

    The only extra is a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Friday, September 12, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RP82, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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Comments (Add)
Wrong Original Aspect Ratio reported in review - Brian