Orchestra Rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra) (1979)



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Movie Info

This Federico Fellini film was originally made for Italian TV. Using a symphony orchestra as a metaphor for Mankind, Fellini explores the various joys, sorrows, frustrations and triumphs of the musicians. The orchestra leader turns out to be God, making one of His rare screen appearances.

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Critic Reviews for Orchestra Rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra)

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (2)

A relatively minor film by Fellini standards, it's still smart, compelling viewing, and its conclusion -- an ambiguous tribute to the unifying power of the arts -- is as provocative as most of the director's films.

May 30, 2001
AV Club
Top Critic

Fellini's films often seem lazy, but this one looks plain tired.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

... Fellini offers art as a final resource, a true path for the salvation of man. [Full review in Spanish]

Feb 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Orchesta Rehearsal is a witty reflection on the human condition--especially our penchant for stressing individual liberty over social good.

Jan 27, 2004 | Full Review…

...a true Fellini film with humorous and thoughtful phrasing by an excellent ensemble cast of unknowns

Aug 28, 2001 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Orchestra Rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra)


It is deliciously odd that Fellini would have a documentary crew in this unpretentious story handling an omnipresent camera that seems to be everywhere even in impossible (and invisible) moments, which gives the film a surreal vibe that goes well together with what he wants to tell.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Only 70 minutes long, "Orchestral Rehearsal" holds a unique spot in Federico Fellini's catalog. More reminiscent of Luis Buñuel than Fellini, this strange allegory occurs almost entirely within one room: the hall of an ancient church that has been re-purposed for a small orchestra's practice sessions. Popes and bishops are buried beneath its stone floor, so it's ostensibly a structure of historical import. In the opening section, Fellini's camera (pursuing a fictional television documentary) roams about the space, capturing musicians' testimonies about their chosen instruments. Typically, a player emphasizes his instrument's unique importance or personifies its character in a loving way. The musicians are mostly unassuming, homely sorts -- ordinary, working-class people rather than arty elitists. Various bits of lighthearted noodling invade the dialogue. The bassoon and trombones add comical noises. When an overweight harpist waddles across the room, others jokingly play Laurel & Hardy's trademark "Cuckoo Song." The atmosphere is loose and spontaneous. Finally, the conductor arrives and the formal practice begins. The resulting music has Nino Rota's usual carnivalesque flavor and, frankly, seems like somewhat of a rehash. (This was Rota's final collaboration with Fellini, as the composer died the following year.) The conductor -- unnamed, like everyone else -- is more of a standard type, and sternly directs players about flaws in their performances. But as he takes a break in his makeshift quarters, he laments bygone days when conductors were feared and commanded more authority. As he rambles on, the parallels with post-fascist Italy become obvious. Meanwhile, the musicians come to represent the common people, and the ensemble is often described in terms of a labor union. There is talk of the musician being freed from "a state of intolerable servility" and instead becoming "an integrated worker, conscious of his contribution to mass culture." A conflict threatens. Inevitably, the group revolts against the conductor's symbolic tyranny. This is where the film turns much more flamboyant and surreal. Anyone bored with the first half will be grateful that he stuck around. Come on, who doesn't want to see a giant metronome?

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Brilliant conflicts.I wouldn't have thought Fellini could actually rampage a bunch of world-class,assuming they are,musicians,engage them in sociological battleship and pinch the audience like saying"The Maestro is the Spirit,the Force of Nature..",so in order for complete rule,anarchy must initiate first!A cult pleasure like Inland Empire for Lynch.

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic][color=green]"Orchestra Rehearsal" is an Italian mock-documentary about an orchestra rehearsing in an old church. The film shows the musicians setting-up, talking about everything but music, being interviewed by an unseen camera crew, negotiating with the union representative, etc. Eventually, they get around to performing before a very interesting climax and ending.[/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=#008000][/color][/font] [font=Century Gothic][color=#008000]Federico Fellini's signature style of raucous energy is on display here. I did find this movie to be very entertaining.[/color][/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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