Dir.: Federico Fellini; Cast: Roberto Benigni; Paollo Villagio, Nadia Ottaviani, Marisa Tomasi; Italy/France 1990, 120 min.
Fellini’s last feature, shot three years before his death, was not one of his most memorable. Harking back to La Strada, where the innocent and naïve both have voices of wisdom, The Voice of the Moon, is a freewheeling affair, and not in a good way. Based on a novel by Ermanno Cavazzoni, who also cooperated with Fellini on the script, has some humour in its episodic settings but overall the impact is one of confusion and chaos.
Ivo Salvini (Benigni) has just been released from a mental institution, and is pleased to join ex-prefect Gonella (Villagio) on his meanderings in the Emilia-Romagna countryside. Gonella has been sacked because of his paranoia, and it soon becomes clear that he is a danger to anyone he meets – apart from Ivo – who has fallen madly in love with Aldina (Ottaviani), who rejects him. In a raucous scene she is crowned “Miss Flower 1989”; and finally, the Moon is captured and dragged out of the sky by some brothers, making everybody happy. At the end a madman shouts: “What am I doing here? Why was I put here in the first place?” To which Salvini answers: “If we all quietened down a little, maybe we’d understand something. What a shame that the career of one of Italy’s greatest director’s should end with this self-parody, with little to recommend it. AS
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