8 1/2 (1963), Federico Fellini entered into a period of projected autobiography, dancing around his own life and experience, teaching his audience the steps along the way. His most luxurious and abstract work during this period of relaxed reflection, which also included Amarcord (1973) and I Clowns (1970), was Roma (1972), a waltz around the site of Fellini's loss of innocence. Slathered in hazy blues, Fellini's homecoming tour is as vituperative as it is romantic, subtly tackling misogyny and the rise of fascism as well as the sites and sounds that awaken in the prankster auteur the pangs of longing for a place he knows he can only find in cinema. Few artists were able to wed their mise-en-scene so perfectly to the feeling of memory as the light from a sinking flare, so clear we could almost touch it, even though we know it is forever out of our reach. Giuseppe Rotunno's camera is vociferously curious and cannot wait to discover the next wondrously eccentric scene Fellini has unearthed from his memory bank.
After recreating his own inner life and personal crises in