The Voice of the Moon
(La voce della luna)
Roberto Benigni, Paolo Villaggio, Nadia Ottavianni, Marisa Tomasi,
This film was the culmination of an idea that Fellini had considered in the past, concerning a possibility that true insanity was really one’s protective armor against depressing circumstances. Using some of the background of his childhood, Fellini completed a dreamy, almost Beckett-like story about a young wanderer, a moonstruck figure, Ivo, played by Roberto Benigni. The mood reminds one of similar moonlit moments in Intervista and Casanova, but here the characters are more remote. The landscape is not identifiable, and Ivo and his friend Gonnella, a plump, aging actor, wander across the fog-strewn fields, encountering characters who form the basis for their lunar fantasies. A pallid blonde, Aldina, is Ivo’s dream girl, illuminated by moonlight; a marriage between Nestore and the town manicurist becomes an erotic romp reminiscent of Casanova, with its insatiable odalisques. The decadent effects of the mass media are attacked, too, in extraordinary set pieces. Ivo and Gonnella, a sort of Laurel and Hardy, move toward silences against the sounds and fury of the world, hoping to understand the meanings of life. All of this bewildered the critics. Fellini was undaunted, however, harboring unrevealed dreams.