La Voce della Luna
The Voice of the Moon
Italy / France 1990
Mario Cecchi Gori, Vittorio Cecchi Gori, Bruno Altissimi (executive), Maurizio Pastrovich (executive), Claudio Saraceni (executive) for Cecchi Gori Group, Tiger Cinematografica, Cinémax, RAI
directed by Federico Fellini
starring Roberto Benigni, Paolo Villaggio, Nadia Ottaviani, Marisa Tomasi, Angelo Orlando, Sim, Syusy Blady, Dario Ghirardi, Dominique Chevalier, Nigel Harris, Vito, Daniela Airoldi, Stefano Antonucci, Ferruccio Brembilla, Stefano Cedrati, Giampaolo Cocchi, Roberto Corbiletto, Giordano Falzoni, Mario Falcione, Francesco Gabriele, Fabio Gaetani, Ettore Geri, Franco Javarone (as Giovanni Javarone), Lorose Keller, Luciano Manzalini (as Gemelli Ruggeri), Arrigo Mozzo, Pippo Negri, Angela Parmigiani, Carmine Ponticiello, Patrizio Roversi, Roberto Russoniello, Concetta Sferrazza, Giorgio Soffritti, Massimo Speroni, Silvana Strocchi, Eraldo Turra, Arturo Vacquer
screenplay by Ermanno Cavazzoni, Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, based on the novel by Ermanno Cavazzoni, music by Nicola Piovani
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Salvini (Roberto Benigni) is a recently released mental patient, but he
still hears voices in his head, most of all near the local well on
moon-lit nights. His journey home is a trip through his rural village
where everybody seems at least as crazy as he himself, but he has kept a
couple of friends, Nestore (Angelo Orlando), forever jilted lover of the
village beauty (Marisa Tomasi), and Gonnella (Paulo Villagio), former
prefect of the neighbourhood, whose mind has given way to paranoia.
Salvini finds a silver high heel shoe among his belongings and believes
and takes it as a symbol to find true love. In a bizarre twist, some of
the locals have snatched the moon from the sky and keep it in a nearby
shed, to full media attention, but should anybody have expected any
answers let alone miracles from an action like this, they'll be gravely
The Voice of the Moon ultimately turned
out to be legendary director Federico Fellini's last movie, and to be
quite honest it's not one of his best ones. Basically, the story of this
film is a bit too incongruous to capture the viewer on its own merits, and
Roberto Benigni's character is too flat and basically featureless to carry
the film - not so much the fault of Benigni, still years away from Life
is Beautiful but relatively fresh from Down by Law, but due to
the way Salvini was written, as most of the time a mere spectator who only
occasionally acts on his own, but mostly without narrative reason. That
all said, The Voice of the Moon is far from a trainwreck, visually
it for sure is stunning, and while the story as a whole is less than
captivating, most of the setpieces (always Fellinis forte) are for sure, a
combination of commedia dell'arte and surrealism, absurdities that
perfectly mirror Italian mentality.
So no, not a masterpiece within
Fellini's oeuvre, but a very impressive film nevertheless!