And the Ship Sails On

(E la nave va)
Italy/France 1983. Dir: Federico Fellini. 132 min. 35mm

IMPORTED 35mm PRINT | Artifice and eccentricity reign charmingly supreme in Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On, a loving elegy for a vanished era. Fellini and production designer Dante Ferretti built an enormous make-believe ocean liner on a Cinecittà soundstage to mount this episodic tale of a colourful group of passengers — aristocrats, impresarios, and music-world celebrities, all fond, Fellini-style grotesques — who set sail from Naples on a memorial voyage to scatter the ashes of a famous opera diva. The time is 1914; encounters with boatloads of refugees and a belligerent battleship are reminders of the war clouds gathering over Europe. Navigating a cellophane sea under painted skies, Fellini’s stylized Ship of Fools includes a love-sick rhinoceros, odes to silent cinema, and plenty of kinky hijinks. “Endearing ... A gentle comedy that delights in its own artifice ... Fellini glories in the clunky machinery of moviemaking” (Jay Scott, Globe and Mail). Print courtesy Istituto Luce Cinecittà.


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