Like most autobiographical works Federico Fellini's scintillating new film 8 1/2 reveals something more than its author intended. Begin with the title. It derives from the fact that, up to now, Fellini has made six full-length films and has contributed three "half" segments to anthology films. Before we step into the theater, the title tells us that he is clever, and that he sees the film as part of his personal history.
Ingmar Bergman's new film Winter Light is relatively short (80 minutes), but then none of his films is long. Most of them run 90 minutes or so. Like Through a Glass Darkly, the new one is a "chamber" work: i.e., he uses relatively few actors and settings. The time-span of the story is shorter than in the last film. There is no score; the only music occurs in church services.It takes place on' one wintry Sunday in a country clergyman's life, between matins and vespers. The subject is another aspect of the subject of the last film, a crisis in faith.
Jean Genet's play, The Balcony, has a considerable history of adaptation in its short life. It was first published in 1956 in fifteen scenes; it was subsequently published in 1960 in nine scenes. (This is the version available here in translation.) Its first production was in English - London, 1957-over the author's violent protests about the way it was produced. It was first pre- sented in New York, off Broadway, in March, 1960 and was condensed before the opening; it was presented in France the following May and was condensed after the opening.
Long Day’s Journey into Night (Embassy) Eugene O'Neill's Long Day’s Journey into Night is the full statement of the early autobiography that he had disguised and used partially in several plays. Beyond the Horizon (1918) is about two brothers, one of whom is tubercular; the doomed couple in All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1923) have his parents' first names; other plays contain further references and derivations.
Ship of Foolsby Katherine Anne Porter(Atlantic-Little, Brown; $6.50) Katherine Anne Porter has published her first novel at the age of 72, and since she spent 20 years on it, we must assume it will be her only novel. She forecast the book in 1940 in the preface to the Modern Library edition of Flowering Judas: [These stories] are fragments of a much larger plan I am still engaged in carrying out.
Gray, ranging from the pearliest shade to the edge of black, is the tonality of Ingmar Bergman's new film Through a Glass Darkly. A bare, ruined choir of an island in the Baltic; a few stone cottages; a few trees; an old hulk of a fishing boat; marsh and naked field. The light and the milieu are cleansed to the point of abstraction, like simplistic modern architecture. On this small island is the summer home of a novelist, whom we see with his adolescent son, his married daughter, and her doctor-husband.
Michelangelo Antonioni's new film The Night is so perfectly congruent with our concerns, so piercingly honest, that it is close to a personal experience. Such an acutely subjective reaction is not always the purpose of art, but it is his purpose and he achieved it.The story is spare. In Milan live Giovanni and Lidia, a novelist and his wife, childless, in their thirties, married some years, affectionate with each other but no longer in love.
The Immediate Experienceby Robert Warshow(Doubleday; $4.50) Robert Warshow died in 1955, aged 37, taking with him a serious mind and a valuable disrespect for acceptances. A number of his essays and reviews, mostly from Commentary and Partisan Review, have now been published under the title The Immediate Experience, and the collection underscores the pathos of his early death. Warshow was one of the best of a school of literary, theater, and film critics that has risen in this country since the thirties.
Tropic of Cancerby Henry Miller(Grove; $7.50) Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer is now published in this country in an unlavish edition of 518 pages set in big type at a price of $7.50--and this in spite of a large first printing. The interest of the price is that here it relates to the content of the book--not, as is usual, to its length or format. The publisher knows that the public knows the book's reputation and is willing to pay much more than is currently charged for books of similar production cost. This gives, from the start, a different atmosphere to its publication.
La Dolce Vita(Astor)A young idealist comes up from the provinces and is corrupted by the depraved city. This perennial theme now reappears in La Dolce Vita, surely the most loudly-heralded foreign film ever to be seen here. With many virtues, this latest Federico Fellini work suffers unfairly from advance blather; and suffers fairly by comparison with Antonioni's L’Avventura, which deals with some of the same matters.Corruption, or at least skill in rascality, is well under way when we first meet Marcello, a young Roman journalist.