In July 1914 a luxury cruise ship leaves Italy with the ashes of the famous opera singer Tetua. The boat is filled with her friends, opera singers, actors and all kinds of exotic people. Life is sweet the first days, but on the third day the captain has to save a a large number of Serbian refugees from the sea, refugees who has escaped the first tremors of WWI.
This evocative look at a 1914 ocean voyage to scatter the ashes of a world-famous opera singer (Janet Suzman) is by turns charming, funny, and bizarre. Among the ship’s passengers are aristocrats, politicians, singers, and a rhinoceros. Their episodic interactions form the core of the film, with complications (including a group of refugee Serbs boarding the vessel) carefully orchestrated by screenwriters Federico Fellini and Tonino Guerra to highlight the decay of European society prior to World War I. The ship sails on an artificial ocean against an artificial sky, crafted by art director Dante Ferretti in the studios of Cinecitta, with a result that is both disconcerting and oddly comforting.
And the Ship Sails On (Italian: E la nave va) is a 1983 Italian film by Federico Fellini. It depicts the events on board a luxury liner filled with the friends of a deceased opera singer who have gathered to mourn her. The film was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 56th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
And the Ship Sails On (1983)
Directed by: Federico Fellini
Starring: Freddie Jones, Barbara Jefford, Peter Cellier, Norma West, Pina Bausch, Victor Poletti, Elisa Mainardi, Sarah-Jane Varley, Fiorenzo Serra
Screenplay by: Federico Fellini, Tonino Guerra
Production Design by: Dante Ferretti
Cinematography by: Giuseppe Rotunno
Film Editing by: Ruggero Mastroianni
Costume Design by: Maurizio Millenotti
Set Decoration by: Francesca Lo Schiavo, Massimo Tavazzi
Music by: Gianfranco Plenizio
Distributed by: Gaumont
Release Date: September 7, 1983