literature, cinema, fine arts

Ginger and Fred (Ginger e Fred, 1986)

The magical world of Federico Fellini

no interval
  • Produced by Müpa Budapest
  • Müpa Film Club

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At the end of Ginger and Fred we find out that, in Rome, if you set your TV antenna just right you can get 66 channels. Big deal! At least, it was a big deal 35 years ago. In their pre-Christmas show, one of the biggest channels parades a host of past stars before the cameras, including Amelia and Pippo (Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni), who did a great impression of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire 40 or 50 years ago. And what remains? Does it matter? Everything and everyone gets lost in the stream of television and adverts. Painful nostalgia or a killer satire? That depends on your perspective.

One scene in Fellini's Rome (1972) is set in 1943 in the Barafonda variety show, where self-appointed talents entertain/bore the esteemed public. One of the performers is a young electrician who imitates Fred Astaire. The audience heckle. The performer talks back. TV viewers aren't quite so fussy. It's quite enough for someone to appear on the screen. Because they are tiny, or muscle bound, because they have visions, because they allegedly perform miracles, because they are skinny, because they have 20 teats, because they're a criminal, because they slept with criminals, because they made contact with aliens, because their body is crooked, because their body is beautiful, because they're bizarre, or average, or still alive... The star of the show is the simple hostess, who for a not-insignificant sum of money takes part in an experiment: she is deprived of TV for one month. A hellish experience... And why is there an endless parade of such surreal performers? For their 15 minutes of fame? And why does the viewer gaze on the confusingly compiled material that serves to fill the void between the adverts? Well... The garrulous, repellent, foulmouthed viewers of the formerly squalid variety show certainly aren't there for the high quality of the production. Perhaps they come to please each other, for the presence of real people. Maybe, watching this film in 2021, it will occur to you that the perfect dramedy of Fellini's bittersweet film could serve as required viewing for any streaming service provider.

In Italian, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screening are conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest
  • Director
    Federico Fellini
  • Host
    András Réz

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