Shooting Down Pictures Video: AND THE SHIP SAILS ON
Federico Fellini’s faux historical reverie of a ocean liner carrying an ensemble of opera performers, a band of Serbian refugees, and a lovesick rhinoceros
And the Ship Sails On, directed by Federico Fellini is ranked #913 among the 1000 Greatest Films of All Time according to They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? I made the following video as part of my blog project Shooting Down Pictures.
On my blog entry for this film, I wrote:
Federico Fellini’s faux historical reverie of a ocean liner carrying an ensemble of opera performers mourning the ashes of a legendary diva, a band of Serbian refugees, and a lovesick rhinoceros, all unwittingly on a rendezvous to incite World War I. Much of this plays like a bloated nostalgia trip chilled with a pervading sense of death by decadence, as this boatload of aesthetes spend their time in petty romantic intrigues and impromptu musical performances, shot mostly in pallid sepia and Hadean blue. Artifice is a major motif, as the boat sails under a matte sky through an ocean of glistening cellophane; Fellini brings the conceits of both theater and old-time moviemaking to the fore. The key aesthetic guiding light is the opera: despite Fellini’s professed ambivalence towards opera, the medium’s garish blend of base sentiment and rarefied artistry informs much of his own vision. Fellini takes multiple opportunities to poke fun of his operatic counterparts’ pretensions; but by the end of the film, as one character spends his final moments clinging to a cinematic projection, it’s clear that Fellini implicates himself in his character’s hubris. Ultimately, it’s an indulgent but moving (perhaps because of the indulgence) rumination on the aesthete lifestyle under the eternal shadow of history: as such it is perhaps the closest Fellini has come to making (as well as parodying) a Visconti film.