Fellini’s Casanova- The Dancing Doll Automaton

May 27, 2008

After watching ‘Fellini’s Casanova’ (1976) again yesterday i thought i should post it as it left me with thoughts as to what the film actually means. Specifically the dancing doll automaton and the bird automation – What did they represent?; A reflection of Casanova’s empty and mechanical soul, devoid of real love. We told by Donald Sutherland in the special feature that Fellini detested Casanova’s moral frivolity and compared him to the re-surging ‘well-to do’ scene in Rome at the time. As with other works of Fellini we are left to fill in the pieces.

The doll has definite connections with Olympia from the novel ‘The Sandman’ by E.T.A Hoffman. 1816. Jentsch and Freud used ‘The Sandman’ as the key text in their attempts to define ‘the uncanny’.

(On the psycology of the uncanny, Jenstch 1906),(The Uncanny, Freud, 1919).

Plot: 18th Century Italy. Giacomo Casanova has a reputation as a great lover. He passes through many adventures in search of passion. He meets the aging Marquise d’Urfe who wants him to impregnate her so that she can reincarnate in her child’s body, is jailed as a black magician but escapes, and enters a love-making competition held by the Prince del Brando, along with many other adventures.