Ginger and Fred

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Fellini giddily satirizes television, pop culture and the world of small-time show business in the charming comedy Ginger and Fred, featuring the first-ever pairing of legendary actors Giulietta Massina and Marcello Mastroianni. The two frequent Fellini collaborators star as Amelia Bonetti and Pippo Botticella, a onetime celebrity song-and-dance team famous in the 1940s for their stellar dance impersonations of Hollywood superstars Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Achieving widespread acclaim as the “Ginger and Fred of Italy,” the couple eventually parted ways to pursue their separate lives. Unfortunately, neither one was particularly successful in other fields of endeavor, so when after many years Amelia is offered a guest-starring gig on a TV variety show, she jumps at the chance. She also seeks out her former partner, Pippo, who may have looked and moved like Astaire in his younger days, but now, not quite as much. As their televised dance reunion fast approaches, Amelia and Pippo are thrust into the gaudy world of modern day entertainment, finding themselves sharing the stage with a bizarre cavalcade of co-stars, including celebrity lookalikes, a cow with 18 teats, the inventor of edible panties and more! While Ginger and Fred, one of Fellini’s final films, is often a touching and nostalgic homage to times past, it’s also a hilariously biting satire of pop culture gone wild. But there’s an elegant Fellini counterpoint to all the garish glitter – namely, the reunion of aging, but agelessly classy, Amelia and Pippo (and by extension, the glorious Massina and Mastroianni), who must learn once again how to face the music. And dance. (Dir. Federico Fellini, 1986, Italy, in Italian with subtitles, 125 mins., Rated PG-13) Digital