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January 20, 2015

Episode 202: Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

Special Guest: John Baxter
Guest Co-Host: Jim Tushinski

We delve into Fellini territory again with a discussion of Juliet of the Spirits. This 1965 film was Federico Fellini’s first foray into the wonderful world of color film. The film is something of a flip side of one of Fellini’s most popular films, . It stars Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, as the titular character, a woman who’s at her wit’s ends when she finds that her husband is cheating on her. The film is something of a journey of self-discovery as Juliet works to unburden herself of her past.

Buy Juliet of the Spirit on DVD
Buy Fellini by John Baxter
Listen to our Satyricon episode

Listen/Download Now:

"Juliet of the Spirits" - The B-52s
"Giulietta degli Spiriti" - Nino Rota



  1. Another great episode. This is an interesting choice of film to cover. As with most of the films Fellini made after 8 ½, I find Juliet of the Spirits problematic. Certain aspects of it I appreciated, but there were more that had me scratching my head or left me disappointed. The only two films of this period that I thoroughly enjoy are Amarcord and Toby Dammit, Fellini’s contribution to the film Spirits of the Dead. I did warm up a little to Satyricon on a second viewing, though. It is an impressive production. Your episode on that Satyricon, moreover, shed some light on what Fellini was exploring in that film.

    (Speaking of Spirits of the Dead, not only is Roger Vadim’s segment of that film utterly inept, but the casting of Peter and Jane Fonda as characters in love with each other made this viewer feel very icky afterwards. Have you ever thought about covering Barbarella?)

    Your discussion about the gender politics of the film touched on the problems I have with it. The depiction of Giuletta struck me as being pathetic in a patronizing way. As you mentioned in the program, she is a doormat that everyone in her life seems to walk over. I do not remember sensing much sympathy for her on Fellini's part. Knowing that the star and the director of Juliet of the Spirits were married in real life, I inevitably wondered how the scenario of the film reflected the dynamics of the marriage. John Baxter’s comments on this subject did not surprise me at all.

    Overall, it is an engrossing film on a visual level with an enjoyable score.

    1. Covering Barbarella is a double-edged sword... It's an amazing movie but I don't know if I can handle getting that theme song stuck in my head again. Evening mentioning the name has the song creeping around the corners of my square brain...

      Glad you liked the episode. Sometimes I feel guilty when we cover a movie that we don't universally love but I also think that sometimes the best discussions come out of this kind of film.

    2. Oh you've got to do Barbarella. It would fit in so well on this site.

    3. http://projection-booth.blogspot.com/p/suggestions.html