Balduin Bass, Clara Colosimo, Elisabeth Labi,
Fellini drew on his experiences collaborating with composer Nino Rota to create this satirical film about an orchestra’s travails. Albert Johnson wrote, “The tensions and temperaments of musicians at work inspired the mischievous side of Fellini’s personality. . . . The possibilities of uproar and violence, while playing the most dulcet tones, appealed to the director’s imagination. Orchestra Rehearsal has the elements of a documentary, but with many whimsical touches. Only some of the musicians were professional. Fellini had to have his ‘faces,’ including a nonagenarian and the lady hunchback from Casanova. A Dutch actor (Balduin Bass) was assigned the role of the beleaguered conductor, and he is superb as the more dire events rise to a crescendo of chaos. Gluttony and sex even manage some expression, as well as sudden death. Most of all, Orchestra Rehearsal is consummate fun.”
Fellini: A Director’s Notebook
Federico Fellini, Italy, 1969
Shot during the making of Satyricon, this hour-long “visual notebook” was created by Fellini for NBC as a way to introduce his themes and obsessions to a wider audience. The great director visits the outdoor ruins of a set for an incomplete film, where suspiciously photogenic hippies now reside (“with an orchestra of grasshoppers”); looks in on the Colosseum and its “night wanderers”; and rides on the Roman subway. Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni weigh in on his work as well. Less documentary than self-reflective fantasia, A Director’s Notebook is as colorfully unique as any of Fellini’s fictions.