Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini

born on 20/1/1920 in Rimini, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

died on 31/10/1993 in Roma, Lazio, Italy

Federico Fellini

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Federico Fellini

Born January 20 1920
Rimini, Italy
Died October 31 1993 (aged 73)
Rome, Italy
Occupation Film director and screenwriter
Years active 1945-1992
Spouse(s) Giulietta Masina (1943-1993) (his death)

Federico Fellini, Knight Grand Cross[1] (Italian pronunciation: [fedriko fllini]; January 20, 1920 October 31, 1993), was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century.[2]

Early life and education

Rimini (1920-1938)

Fellini was born on January 20, 1920 to middle-class parents in Rimini, then a small town on the Adriatic Sea. His father, Urbano Fellini (1894-1956), born to a family of Romagnol peasants and small landholders from Gambettola, moved to Rome in 1915 as a baker apprenticed to the Pantanella pasta factory. His mother, Ida Barbiani (1896-1984), came from a bourgeois Catholic family of Roman merchants. Despite her familys vehement disapproval, she eloped with Urbano in 1917 to live at his parents' home in Gambettola.[3] A civil marriage followed in 1918 with the religious ceremony held at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome a year later. The couple settled in Rimini where Urbano became a traveling salesman and wholesale vendor. Fellini had two siblings: Riccardo (1921-1991), a documentary director for RAI Television, and Maria Maddalena (m. Fabbri; 1929-2002).

In 1924, Fellini started primary school with the Sisters of Vincenzo in Rimini, attending the Carlo Tonni public school two years later. An attentive student, he spent his leisure time drawing, staging puppet shows, and reading Il corriere dei piccoli, the popular childrens magazine that reproduced traditional American cartoons by Winsor McCay, George McManus and Frederick Burr Opper. (Oppers Happy Hooligan would provide the visual inspiration for Gelsomina in Fellini's 1954 film La strada; McCays Little Nemo would directly influence his 1980 film City of Women.)[4] In 1926, he discovered the world of Grand Guignol, the circus with Pierino the Clown, and the movies. Guido Brignones Maciste allInferno (1926), the first film he saw, would mark him in ways linked to Dante and the cinema throughout his entire career.[5]

Enrolled at the Ginnasio Giulio Cesare in 1929, he made friends with Luigi Titta Benzi, later a prominent Rimini lawyer (and the model for young Titta in Amarcord (1973)). In Mussolinis Italy, Fellini and Riccardo became members of the Avanguardista, the compulsory Fascist youth group for males. He visited Rome with his parents for the first time in 1933, the year of the maiden voyage of the transatlantic ocean liner SS Rex (which makes an appearance in Amarcord). The sea creature found on the beach at the end of La Dolce Vita (1960) has its basis in a giant fish marooned on a Rimini beach during a storm in 1934. Although Fellini adapted key events from his childhood and adolescence in films such as I Vitelloni (1953), (1963), and Amarcord (1973), he insisted that such autobiographical memories were inventions: "It is not memory that dominates my films. To say that my films are autobiographical is an overly facile liquidation, a hasty classification. It seems to me that I have invented almost everything: childhood, character, nostalgias, dreams, memories, for the pleasure of being able to recount them."[6]

In 1937, Fellini opened Febo, a portrait shop in Rimini with the painter Demos Bonini. His first humorous article appeared in the "Postcards to Our Readers" section of Riminis Domenica del Corriere. Deciding on a career as a caricaturist and gag writer, Fellini travelled to Florence in 1938 where he published his first cartoon in the weekly 420. Failing his military culture exam, he graduated from high school in July 1938 after doubling the exam.

Rome (1939)

In September 1939, he enrolled in law school at the University of Rome to please his parents although biographer Hollis Alpert reports that "there is no record of his ever having attended a class".[7] Installed in a family pensione, he met another lifelong friend, the painter Rinaldo Geleng. Desperately poor, they unsuccessfully joined forces to draw sketches of restaurant and café patrons. Fellini eventually found work as a cub reporter on the dailies Il Piccolo and Il Popolo di Roma but quit after a short stint, bored by the local court news assignments.

Four months after publishing his first article in MarcAurelio, the highly influential biweekly humour magazine, he joined the editorial board, achieving success with a regular column titled Will You Listen to What I Have to Say?[8] Described as the determining moment in Fellinis life,[9] he enjoyed steady employment between 1939 and 1942, interacting with writers, gagmen, and scriptwriters that eventually led to opportunities in show business and cinema. Among his collaborators on the magazines editorial board were the future director Ettore Scola, Marxist theorist and scriptwriter Cesare Zavattini, and Bernardino Zapponi, a future Fellini screenwriter. Conducting interviews for CineMagazzino also proved congenial: when asked to interview Aldo Fabrizi, Italys most popular variety performer, their immediate personal rapport led to professional collaboration. Specializing in humorous monologues, Fabrizi commissioned material from his young protégé.[10]

Career and later life

Early screenplays (1940-43)

Retained on business in Rimini, Urbano sent wife and family to Rome in 1940 to share an apartment with his son. Fellini and Ruggero Maccari, also on the staff of MarcAurelio, began writing radio sketches and gags for films. Not yet twenty and with Fabrizis help, Fellini obtained his first screen credit as a comedy writer on Mario Mattolis Il pirata sono io (The Pirate's Dream). Progressing rapidly to numerous collaborations on films at Cinecittà, his circle of professional acquaintances widened to include novelist Vitaliano Brancati and scriptwriter Piero Tellini. In the wake of Mussolinis declaration of war against France and England on June 10, 1940, he discovered Kafkas The Metamorphosis, Gogol, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner along with French films by Marcel Carné, René Clair, and Julien Duvivier.[11] In 1941 he published Il mio amico Pasqualino, a 74-page booklet in ten chapters describing the absurd adventures of Pasqualino, an alter ego.[12]

Writing for radio while attempting to avoid the draft, Fellini met his future wife Giulietta Masina in a studio office at EIAR (Italian Radio Broadcast Corporation) in autumn 1942. Well-paid as the voice of Pallina in Fellini's radio serial, Cico and Pallina, Masina was also known for her musical-comedy broadcasts which cheered an audience depressed by the war.[13] In November 1942, Fellini was sent to Libya, occupied by Fascist Italy, to work on the screenplay of I cavalieri del deserto (Knights of the Desert, 1942), directed by Osvaldo Valenti and Gino Talamo. Fellini welcomed the assignment as it allowed him "to secure another extension on his draft order".[14] Responsible for emergency re-writing, he also directed the film's first scenes. When Tripoli fell under siege by British forces, he and his colleagues made a narrow escape by boarding a German military plane flying to Sicily. His African adventure, later published in MarcAurelio as "The First Flight", marked the emergence of a new Fellini, no longer just a screenwriter, working and sketching at his desk, but a filmmaker out in the field.[15]

The apolitical Fellini was finally freed of the draft when an Allied air raid over Bologna destroyed his medical records. Fellini and Giulietta hid in her aunts apartment until Mussolini's fall on July 25, 1943. After dating for nine months, the couple were married on October 30, 1943. Several months later, Masina fell down the stairs and suffered a miscarriage. She gave birth to a son, Pierfederico, on March 22, 1944 but the child died of encephalitis three weeks later. The tragedy had enduring emotional and artistic repercussions.[16]

Neorealist apprenticeship (1944-1949)

After the Allied liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944, Fellini and Enrico De Seta opened the Funny Face Shop where they survived the postwar recession drawing caricatures of American soldiers. He became involved with Italian Neorealism when Roberto Rossellini, at work on Stories of Yesteryear (later Rome, Open City), met Fellini in his shop proposing he contribute gags and dialogue for the script . Aware of Fellinis reputation as Aldo Fabrizis creative muse,[17] Rossellini also requested he try to convince the actor to play the role of Father Giuseppe Morosini, the parish priest executed by the SS on April 4, 1944.

In 1947, Fellini and Sergio Amidei received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of Rome, Open City.

Working as both screenwriter and assistant director on Rossellinis Paisà (Paisan) in 1946, Fellini was entrusted to film the Sicilian scenes in Maiori. In February 1948, he was introduced to Marcello Mastroianni, then a young theatre actor appearing in a play with Giulietta Masina.[18] Establishing a close working relationship with Alberto Lattuada, Fellini co-wrote the directors Senza pietà (Without Pity) and Il mulino del Po (The Mill on the Po). Fellini also worked with Rossellini on the anthology film L'Amore (1948), co-writing the screenplay and in one segment titled, "The Miracle", acting opposite Anna Magnani. To play the role of a vagabond rogue mistaken by Magnani for a saint, Fellini had to bleach his black hair blond.

Early films (1950-53)

In 1950 Fellini co-produced and co-directed with Alberto Lattuada Variety Lights (Luci del varietà), his first feature film. A backstage comedy set among the world of small-time travelling performers, it featured Giulietta Masina and Lattuadas wife, Carla del Poggio. Its release to poor reviews and limited distribution proved disastrous for all concerned. The production company went bankrupt, leaving both Fellini and Lattuada with debts to pay for over a decade.[19] In February 1950, Paisà received an Oscar nomination for the screenplay by Rossellini, Sergio Amidei, and Fellini.

After travelling to Paris for a script conference with Rossellini on Europa '51, Fellini began production on The White Sheik in September 1951, his first solo-directed feature. Starring Alberto Sordi in the title role, the film is a revised version of a treatment first written by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1949 and based on the fotoromanzi, the photographed cartoon strip romances popular in Italy at the time. Producer Carlo Ponti commissioned Fellini and Tullio Pinelli to write the script but Antonioni rejected the story they developed. With Ennio Flaiano, they re-worked the material into a light-hearted satire about newlywed couple Ivan and Wanda Cavalli (Leopoldo Trieste, Brunello Bovo) in Rome to visit the Pope. Ivans prissy mask of respectability is soon demolished by his wifes obsession with the White Sheik. Highlighting the music of Nino Rota, the film was selected at Cannes (among the films in competition was Orson Welless Othello) and then retracted. Screened at the 13th Venice Film Festival, it was razzed by critics in the atmosphere of a soccer match.[20] One reviewer declared that Fellini had not the slightest aptitude for cinema direction.

In 1953, I Vitelloni found favour with the critics and public. Winning the Silver Lion Award in Venice, it secured Fellinis first international distributor.

Beyond neorealism (1954-60)

Fellini directed La strada based on a script completed in 1952 with Pinelli and Flaiano. During the last three weeks of shooting, Fellini experienced the first signs of severe clinical depression.[21] Aided by his wife, he undertook a brief period of therapy with Freudian psychoanalyst Emilio Servadio.[21]

Fellini cast American actor Broderick Crawford to interpret the role of an aging swindler in Il Bidone. Based partly on stories told to him by a petty thief during production of La strada, Fellini developed the script into a con mans slow descent towards a solitary death. To incarnate the roles intense, tragic face, Fellinis first choice had been Humphrey Bogart[22] but after learning of the actors lung cancer, chose Crawford after seeing his face on the theatrical poster of All the Kings Men (1949). The film shoot was wrought with difficulties stemming from Crawfords alcoholism.[23] Savaged by critics at the 16th Venice Film Festival, the film did miserable box office and did not receive international distribution until 1964.

During the autumn, Fellini researched and developed a treatment based on a film adaptation of Mario Tobinos novel, The Free Women of Magliano. Located in a mental institution for women, financial backers considered the subject had no potential and the project was abandoned.

While preparing Nights of Cabiria in spring 1956, Fellini learned of his fathers death by cardiac arrest at the age of 62. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and starring Giulietta Masina, the film took its inspiration from news reports of a womans decapitated head retrieved in a lake and stories by Wanda, a shantytown prostitute Fellini met on the set of Il Bidone.[24] Pier Paolo Pasolini was hired to translate Flaiano and Pinellis dialogue into Roman dialect and to supervise researches in the vice-afflicted suburbs of Rome. The movie won an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film and brought Masina the Best Actress Award at Cannes for her performance.

With Pinelli, he developed Journey with Anita for Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck. An invention born out of intimate truth, the script was based on Fellini's return to Rimini with a mistress to attend his father's funeral.[25] Due to Lorens unavailability, the project was shelved and resurrected twenty-five years later as Lovers and Liars (1981), a comedy directed by Mario Monicelli with Goldie Hawn and Giancarlo Giannini. For Eduardo De Filippo, he co-wrote the script of Fortunella, tailoring the lead role to accommodate Masinas particular sensibility.

The Hollywood on the Tiber phenomenon of 1958 in which American studios profited from the cheap studio labour available in Rome provided the backdrop for photojournalists to steal shots of celebrities on the via Veneto.[26] The scandal provoked by Turkish dancer Haish Nanas improvised striptease at a nightclub captured Fellinis imagination: he decided to end his latest script-in-progress, Moraldo in the City, with an all-night orgy at a seaside villa. Pierluigi Praturlons photos of Anita Ekberg wading fully dressed in the Trevi Fountain provided further inspiration for Fellini and his scriptwriters. Changing the title of the screenplay to La Dolce Vita, Fellini soon clashed with his producer on casting: the director insisted on the relatively unknown Mastroianni while De Laurentiis wanted Paul Newman as a hedge on his investment. Reaching an impasse, De Laurentiis sold the rights to publishing mogul Angelo Rizzoli. Shooting began on March 16, 1959 with Anita Ekberg climbing the stairs to the cupola of Saint Peters in a mammoth décor constructed at Cinecittà. The statue of Christ flown by helicopter over Rome to Saint Peter's Square was inspired by an actual media event on May 1, 1956, which Fellini had witnessed. The film wrapped August 15 on a deserted beach at Passo Oscuro with a bloated mutant fish designed by Piero Gherardi.

La Dolce Vita broke all box office records. Despite scalpers selling tickets at 1000 lire,[27] crowds queued in line for hours to see an immoral movie before the censors banned it. At an exclusive Milan screening on February 5, 1960, one outraged patron spat on Fellini while others hurled insults. Denounced in parliament by right-wing conservatives, undersecretary Domenico Magrì of the Christian Democrats demanded tolerance for the films controversial themes.[28] The Vatican's official press organ, l'Osservatore Romano, lobbied for censorship while the Board of Roman Parish Priests and the Genealogical Board of Italian Nobility attacked the film. In one documented instance involving favourable reviews written by the Jesuits of San Fedele, defending La Dolce Vita had severe consequences.[29] In competition at Cannes alongside Antonionis LAvventura, the film won the Palme d'Or awarded by presiding juror Georges Simenon. The Belgian writer was promptly hissed at by the disapproving festival crowd.[30]

Art films and dreams (1961-1969)

A major discovery for Fellini after his Italian neorealism period (1950-1959) was the work of Carl Jung. After meeting Jungian psychoanalyst Dr. Ernst Bernhard in early 1960, he read Jung's autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Bernhard also recommended that Fellini consult the I Ching and keep a record of his dreams. What Fellini formerly accepted as "his extrasensory perceptions"[31] were now interpreted as psychic manifestations of the unconscious. Bernhards focus on Jungian depth psychology proved to be the single greatest influence on Fellinis mature style and marked the turning point in his work from neorealism to filmmaking that was primarily oneiric.[32] As a consequence, Jung's seminal ideas on the anima and the animus, the role of archetypes and the collective unconscious directly influenced such films as (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Satyricon (1969), Casanova (1976), and City of Women (1980).[33]

Exploiting La Dolce Vitas success, financier Angelo Rizzoli set up Federiz in 1960, an independent film company, for Fellini and production manager Clemente Fracassi to discover and produce new talent. Despite the best intentions, their guarded editorial and business skills forced the company to close down soon after cancelling Pasolinis project, Accattone (1961).

Condemned as a public sinner[34] for La Dolce Vita, Fellini responded with The Temptations of Doctor Antonio, a segment in the omnibus Boccaccio '70. His first colour film, it was the sole project green-lighted at Federiz. Infused with the surrealistic satire that characterized the young Fellinis work at MarcAurelio, the film ridiculed a crusader against vice who goes insane trying to censor a billboard of Anita Ekberg espousing the virtues of milk.

In an October 1960 letter to his colleague Brunello Rondi, Fellini first outlined his film ideas about a man suffering creative block: "Well then - a guy (a writer? any kind of professional man? a theatrical producer?) has to interrupt the usual rhythm of his life for two weeks because of a not-too-serious disease. Its a warning bell: something is blocking up his system."[35] Unclear about the script, its title, and his protagonists profession, he scouted locations throughout Italy looking for the film[36] in the hope of resolving his confusion. Flaiano suggested La bella confusione (literally A Fine Confusion) as the movies title. Under pressure from his producers, Fellini finally settled on , a self-referential title referring principally (but not exclusively)[37] to the number of films he had directed up to that time.

Giving the order to start production in spring 1962, Fellini signed deals with his producer Rizzoli, fixed dates, had sets constructed, cast Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, and Sandra Milo in lead roles, and did screen tests at the Scalera Studios in Rome. He hired cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo, among key personnel. But apart from naming his hero Guido Anselmi, he still couldn't decide what his character did for a living.[38] The crisis came to a head in April when, sitting in his Cinecittà office, he began a letter to Rizzoli confessing he had "lost his film" and had to abandon the project. Interrupted by the chief machinist requesting he celebrate the launch of , Fellini put aside the letter and went on the set. Raising a toast to the crew, he "felt overwhelmed by shame I was in a no exit situation. I was a director who wanted to make a film he no longer remembers. And lo and behold, at that very moment everything fell into place. I got straight to the heart of the film. I would narrate everything that had been happening to me. I would make a film telling the story of a director who no longer knows what film he wanted to make".[39]

Shooting began on May 9, 1962. Perplexed by the seemingly chaotic, incessant improvisation on the set, Deena Boyer, the directors American press officer at the time, asked for a rationale. Fellini told her that he hoped to convey the three levels on which our minds live: the past, the present, and the conditional - the realm of fantasy.[40] After shooting wrapped on October 14, Nino Rota composed various circus marches and fanfares that would later become signature tunes of the maestros cinema.[41] Nominated for four Oscars, won awards for best foreign language film and best costume design in black-and-white. In Hollywood for the ceremony, Fellini toured Disneyland with Walt Disney the day after.

Increasingly attracted to parapsychology, Fellini met the Turin magician Gustavo Rol in 1963. Rol, a former banker, introduced him to the world of Spiritism and séances. In 1964, Fellini experimented with LSD 25[42] under the supervision of Emilio Servadio, his psychoanalyst during production of La strada.[43] For years reserved about what actually occurred that Sunday afternoon, he admitted in 1992 that

"objects and their functions no longer had any significance. All I perceived was perception itself, the hell of forms and figures devoid of human emotion and detached from the reality of my unreal environment. I was an instrument in a virtual world that constantly renewed its own meaningless image in a living world that was itself perceived outside of nature. And since the appearance of things was no longer definitive but limitless, this paradisiacal awareness freed me from the reality external to my self. The fire and the rose, as it were, became one."[44]

Fellini's hallucinatory insights were given full flower in his first colour feature Juliet of the Spirits (1965), depicting Giulietta Masina as a housewife, Juliet, who rightly suspects her husband's infidelity and succumbs to hearing voices of spirits summoned at a séance at her home. Her sexually voracious next door neighbor Suzy (Sandra Milo) introduces Juliet to a world of uninhibited sensuality but Juliet is haunted by childhood memories of her Catholic guilt and a teenaged friend who committed suicide. Complex and filled with psychological symbolism, the film is set to a jaunty score by Nino Rota.

Honours (1970-1980)

Fellini received a lifetime achievement at the 27th Cannes Film Festival in 1974.

Amarcord, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1975.

The following year Fellini's Casanova won the Oscar for Best Costumes (Danilo Donati).

Late films and projects (1981-1990)

Organized by his publisher Diogenes Verlag in 1982, the first major exhibition of 63 drawings by Fellini was held in Paris, Brussels, and the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York.[45] A gifted caricaturist, much of the inspiration for his sketches was derived from his own dreams while the films-in-progress both originated from and stimulated drawings for characters, decor, costumes and set designs. Under the title, I disegni di Fellini (Fellinis Designs), he published 350 drawings executed in pencil, watercolours, and felt pens.[46]

On September 6, 1985 Fellini was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the 42nd Venice Film Festival. That same year, he became the first non-American to receive the Film Society of Lincoln Centers annual award for cinematic achievement.

Long fascinated by Carlos Castanedas The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, Fellini accompanied the Peruvian author on a journey to the Yucatán to assess the feasibility of a film. After first meeting Castaneda in Rome in October 1984, Fellini drafted a treatment with Pinelli titled Viaggio a Tulun. Producer Alberto Grimaldi, prepared to buy film rights to all of Castanedas work, then paid for pre-production research taking Fellini and his entourage from Rome to Los Angeles and the jungles of Mexico in October 1985.[47] When Castaneda inexplicably disappeared and the project fell through, Fellinis mystico-shamanic adventures were scripted with Pinelli and serialized in Corriere della Sera in May 1986. A barely veiled satirical interpretation of Castaneda's work,[48] Viaggio a Tulun was published in 1989 as a graphic novel with artwork by Milo Manara and as Trip to Tulum in America in 1990.

For Intervista, produced by Ibrahim Moussa and RAI Television, Fellini intercut memories of the first time he visited Cinecittà in 1939 with present-day footage of himself at work on a screen adaptation of Franz Kafkas Amerika. A meditation on the nature of memory and film production, it won the special 40th Anniversary Prize at Cannes and the 15th Moscow Film Festival Grand Prize. In Brussels later that year, a panel of thirty professionals from eighteen European countries named Fellini the worlds best director and the best European film of all time.[49]

In early 1989 Fellini began production on The Voice of the Moon, based on Ermanno Cavazzonis novel, Il poema des lunatici (The Lunatics Poem). A small town was built at Empire Studios on the via Pontina outside Rome. Starring Roberto Benigni as Ivo Salvini, a madcap poetic figure newly released from a mental institution, the character is a combination of La strada's Gelsomina, Pinocchio, and Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi.[50] Fellini improvised as he filmed, using as a guide a rough treatment written with Pinelli.[51] Despite its modest critical and commercial success in Italy, and its warm reception by French critics, it failed to interest North American distributors.

Fellini won the Praemium Imperiale, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the visual arts, awarded by the Japan Art Association in 1990.[52]

Final years (1991-1993)

In July 1991 and April 1992, Fellini worked in close collaboration with Canadian filmmaker Damian Pettigrew to establish "the longest and most detailed conversations ever recorded on film".[53] Described as the "Maestro's spiritual testament by his biographer Tullio Kezich,[54] excerpts culled from the conversations later served as the basis of their feature documentary, Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (2002) and the book, I'm a Born Liar: A Fellini Lexicon. Finding it increasingly difficult to secure financing for feature films, he developed a suite of television projects whose titles reflect their subjects: Attore, Napoli, LInferno, Lopera lirica, and LAmerica.

In April 1993, Fellini received his fifth Oscar for lifetime achievement "in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments that have thrilled and entertained audiences worldwide". On June 16, he entered the Cantonal Hospital in Zurich for an "angioplasty on his femoral artery"[55] but suffered a stroke at the Grand Hotel in Rimini two months later. Partially paralyzed, he was first transferred to Ferrara for rehabilitation and then to the Policlinico Umberto I in Rome to be near his wife, also hospitalized. He suffered a second stroke and fell into an irreversible coma. Fellini died in Rome on October 31 at the age of 73, a day after his fiftieth wedding anniversary. The memorial service was held in Studio 5 at Cinecittà attended by an estimated 70,000 people.[56] At the request of Giulietta Masina, trumpeter Mauro Maur played the "Improvviso dell'Angelo" by Nino Rota during the funeral ceremony.[57] Five months later on March 23, 1994, Giulietta Masina died of lung cancer.

Fellini, Masina and their son Pierfederico are buried in a bronze sepulchre sculpted by Arnaldo Pomodoro. Designed as a ship's prow, the tomb is located at the main entrance to the Cemetery of Rimini. The Federico Fellini Airport in Rimini is named in his honour.

Influence and legacy

Personal and highly idiosyncratic visions of society, Fellini's films are a unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. The adjectives "Fellinian" and "Felliniesque" are "synonymous with any kind of extravagant, fanciful, even baroque image in the cinema and in art in general".[4] La Dolce Vita contributed the term paparazzi to the English language, derived from Paparazzo, the photographer friend of journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni).[58]

Contemporary filmmakers such as Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Tim Burton,[59] Terry Gilliam,[60] Emir Kusturica,[61] David Lynch,[62] Girish Kasaravalli, David Cronenberg, Martin Scorsese, and Juraj Jakubisko have cited Fellini's influence on their work.

Woody Allen's most obvious homage to Fellini is Allen's 1980 film Stardust Memories. Further, in Allen's 1979 film Manhattan the following lines are spoken: Isaac Davis: It's an interesting group of people, your friends are. Mary Wilke: I know. Isaac Davis: Like the cast of a Fellini movie.

Polish director, Wojciech Has, whose two major films, The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) and The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (1973) are examples of modernist fantasies, has been compared to Fellini for the sheer "luxuriance of his images".[63]

I Vitelloni inspired European directors Juan Antonio Bardem, Marco Ferreri, and Lina Wertmuller and had an influence on Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973), George Lucas's American Graffiti (1974), Joel Schumacher's St. Elmo's Fire (1985), and Barry Levinson's Diner (1987), among many others.[64] When the American magazine Cinema asked Stanley Kubrick in 1963 to name his favorite films, the film director listed I Vitelloni as number one in his Top 10 list.[65]

Nights of Cabiria was adapted as the Broadway musical Sweet Charity and the movie Sweet Charity (1969) by Bob Fosse starring Shirley MacLaine.

inspired among others: Mickey One (Arthur Penn, 1965), Alex in Wonderland (Paul Mazursky, 1970), Beware of a Holy Whore (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1971), Day for Night (François Truffaut, 1973), All That Jazz (Bob Fosse, 1979), Stardust Memories (Woody Allen, 1980), Sogni d'oro (Nanni Moretti, 1981), Parad Planet (Vadim Abdrashitov, 1984), La Pelicula del rey (Carlos Sorin, 1986), Living in Oblivion (Tom DiCillo, 1995) , 8½ Women (Peter Greenaway, 1999), Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993), along with the successful Broadway musical, Nine (Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit, 1982).[66] Yo-Yo Boing! (1998), a Spanish novel by Puerto Rican writer Giannina Braschi, features a dream sequence with Fellini that was inspired by .

City of Women was adapted for the Berlin stage by Frank Castorf in 1992.

Fellinis work is referenced on the albums Fellini Days (2001) by Fish and Funplex (2008) by the B-52's with the song Juliet of the Spirits, and in the opening traffic jam of the music video Everybody Hurts by R.E.M.[67] It influenced two American TV shows, Northern Exposure and Third Rock from the Sun.[68]

Certain of his film related material and personal papers are contained in the Wesleyan University Cinema Archives to which scholars and media experts from around the world may have full access.[69] In October 2009, the Jeu de Paume in Paris opened an exhibit devoted to Fellini, running through to January 2010. The exhibition included Fellini ephemera, television interviews, behind-the-scenes photographs, and excerpts from La dolce vita and . It also featured the Book of Dreams based on 30 years of illustrations and notes by Fellini.[70]


Selected awards and nominations

  • Rome, Open City (Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 1945)
    • Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay (with Sergio Amidei)
  • Paisà (Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 1946)
    • Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay (with Sergio Amidei, Alfred Hayes, Marcello Pagliero, and Rossellini)
  • I Vitelloni (1953)
    • Venice Film Festival Silver Lion
    • Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay (with Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano)
  • La Strada (1954)
    • Venice Film Festival Silver Lion
    • Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film
    • Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay (with Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi)
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film
    • Screen Directors Guild Award for Best Foreign Film
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957)
    • Festival de Cannes Best Actress Award (Giulietta Masina)
    • Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film
  • La Dolce Vita (1960)
    • Palme d'Or at Festival de Cannes
    • Oscar Best Costumes in B&W (Piero Gherardi)
    • Oscar nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay (with Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi), Best Art and Set Direction
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Language Film
    • National Board of Review citation for Best Foreign Language Film
  • (Otto e Mezzo, 1963)
    • Moscow International Film Festival Grand Prize
    • Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film
    • Oscar for Best Costumes in B&W (Piero Gherardi)
    • Oscar nomination for Best Director
    • Oscar nomination for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in B&W (Piero Gherardi)
    • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbons for Best Cinematography in B&W (Gianni Di Venanzo), Best Director (Federico Fellini), Best Original Story (Fellini and Flaiano), Best Producer (Angelo Rizzoli), Best Score (Nino Rota), Best Screenplay (Fellini, Pinelli, Flaiano, Rondi), and Best Supporting Actress (Sandra Milo)
    • Berlin Film Festival Special Award
    • BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Film from any Source
    • Bodil Award for Best European Film
    • Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film
    • National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Picture
    • Grolla dOro at Saint Vincent Film Festival for Best Director
    • Kinema Junpo Award for Best Foreign Language Film & Best Foreign Language Film Director
  • Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film
    • National Board of Review Award for Best Foreign Language Story
    • Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Satyricon (1969)
    • Oscar nomination for Best Director
  • I clowns (1970)
    • National Board of Review citation for Best Foreign Language Film
  • Amarcord (1974)
    • Oscar for Best Foreign Film
    • Oscar nomination for Best Director
    • Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Direction
    • New York Film Critics Award for Best Motion Picture
  • Fellini's Casanova (1976)
    • Oscar for Best Costumes (Danilo Donati)
  • Intervista (1987)
    • Moscow International Film Festival Grand Prize
    • Festival de Cannes Special 40th Anniversary Prize
  • The Voice of the Moon (1990)
    • David di Donatello Awards for Best Actor, Best Production Design, and Best Editing


  • 1974
    • 27th Cannes Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award (with French director René Clair)
  • 1985
    • 42nd Venice Film Festival Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
    • Film Society of Lincoln Center Award for Cinematic Achievement
  • 1989
    • Lifetime Achievement Award - European Film Awards
  • 1990
    • Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale (equivalent of the Nobel Prize in the visual arts)
  • 1993
    • Oscar for Lifetime Achievement


Major screenplay contributions

  • L'ultima carrozzella (1943) (dir. Mario Mattoli) Co-scriptwriter
  • Roma, città aperta (1945) (dir. Roberto Rossellini) Co-scriptwriter
  • Paisà (1946) (dir. Roberto Rossellini). Co-scriptwriter
  • Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo (1947) (dir. Alberto Lattuada) Co-scriptwriter
  • Senza pietà (1948) (dir. Alberto Lattuada) Co-scriptwriter
  • Il miracolo (1948) (dir. Roberto Rossellini) Co-scriptwriter
  • Il mulino del Po (1949) (dir. Alberto Lattuada) Co-scriptwriter
  • Francesco, giullare di Dio (1950) (dir. Alberto Lattuada) Co-scriptwriter
  • Il Cammino della speranza (1950) (dir. Pietro Germi) Co-scriptwriter
  • La città si defende (1951) (dir. Pietro Germi) Co-scriptwriter
  • Persiane chiuse (1951) (dir. Luigi Comencini) Co-scriptwriter
  • Il brigante di Tacca del Lupo (1952) (dir. Pietro Germi) Co-scriptwriter
  • Fortunella (1979) (dir. Eduardo De Filippo) Co-scriptwriter
  • Lovers and Liars (1979) (dir. Mario Monicelli) Fellini not credited

Television commercials

  • TV commercial for Campari Soda (1984)
  • TV commercial for Barilla pasta (1984)
  • Three TV commercials for Banca di Roma (1992)

Written and directed

  • Luci del varietà (1950) (co-credited with Alberto Lattuada)
  • Lo sceicco bianco (1952)
  • I vitelloni (1953)
  • L'amore in città (1953) (segment Un'agenzia matrimoniale)
  • La strada (1954)
  • Il bidone (1955)
  • Le notti di Cabiria (1957)
  • La dolce vita (1960)
  • Boccaccio '70 (1962) (segment Le tentazioni del Dottor Antonio)
  • (1963)
  • Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
  • Histoires extraordinaires (1968) (segment Toby Dammit, based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Never Bet the Devil Your Head")
  • Fellini: A Director's Notebook (1969)
  • Satyricon (1969)
  • I clowns (1970)
  • Roma (1972)
  • Amarcord (1973)
  • Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)
  • Prova d'orchestra (1978)
  • La città delle donne (1980)
  • E la nave va (1983)
  • Ginger and Fred (1986)
  • Intervista (1987)
  • La voce della luna (1990)

See also

  • Art film



  1. Il Quirinale
  2. Burke and Waller, 12
  3. Alpert, 16
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bondanella, The Films of Federico Fellini, 7
  5. Burke and Waller, 5-13
  6. Fellini interview in Panorama 18 (14 January 1980). Screenwriters Tullio Pinelli and Bernardino Zapponi, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno and set designer Dante Ferretti also reported that Fellini imagined many of his memories. Cf. Bernardino Zapponi's memoir, Il mio Fellini and Fellini's own insistence on having created his cinematic autobiography in I'm a Born Liar: A Fellini Lexicon, 32
  7. Alpert, 33
  8. Kezich, 31
  9. Bondanella, The Films of Federico Fellini, 8
  10. Kezich, 55
  11. Alpert, 42
  12. Kezich, 35
  13. Kezich, 46-48
  14. Kezich, 70
  15. Kezich, 71
  16. Kezich, 157. Cf. filmed interview with Luigi 'Titta' Benzi in Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (2003).
  17. Kezich, 78
  18. Kezich, 404
  19. Kezich, 114
  20. Kezich, 128
  21. 21.0 21.1 Kezich, 158
  22. Kezich, 167
  23. Kezich, 168-69
  24. Kezich, 177
  25. Kezich, 189
  26. Alpert, 122
  27. Kezich, 208
  28. Kezich, 209
  29. Kezich, 210
  30. Alpert, 145
  31. Kezich, 224
  32. Kezich, 227
  33. Bondanella, Cinema of Federico Fellini, 151-54
  34. Kezich, 212
  35. Affron, 227
  36. Alpert, 159
  37. Kezich, 234 and Affron, 3-4
  38. Alpert, 160
  39. Fellini, Comments on Film, 161-62
  40. Alpert, 170
  41. Kezich, 245
  42. A synthetic derivative fashioned to produce the same effects as the hallucinogenic mushrooms used by Mexican tribes. Kezich, 255
  43. Kezich, 255
  44. Fellini and Pettigrew, 91
  45. Kezich, 413. Also cf. The Warsaw Voice
  46. Fellini, I disegni di Fellini (Roma: Editori Laterza), 1993. The drawings are edited and analysed by Pier Marco De Santi. For comparing Fellini's graphic work with those of Sergei Eisenstein, consult S.M. Eisenstein, Dessins secrets (Paris: Seuil), 1999.
  47. Kezich, 360-61
  48. Kezich, 362
  49. Burke and Waller, xvi
  50. Bondanella, Cinema of Federico Fellini, 330
  51. Kezich, 383
  52. Kezich, 387. The award covers five disciplines: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and theatre/film. Other winners include Akira Kurosawa, David Hockney, Balthus, Pina Bausch, and Maurice Béjart.
  53. Peter Bondanella, Review of Fellini: I'm a Born Liar in Cineaste Magazine (September 22, 2003), 32
  54. Kezich, "Forward" in I'm a Born Liar: A Fellini Lexicon, 5. Also cf. Kezich, 388
  55. Kezich, 396
  56. Kezich, 416
  57. The Funerals of Federico Fellini
  58. Ennio Flaiano, the film's co-screenwriter and creator of Paparazzo, explained that he took the name from Signor Paparazzo, a character in George Gissing's novel By the Ionian Sea (1901). Bondanella, The Cinema of Federico Fellini, 136
  59. Cf. Tim Burton Collective Accessed Sept 17 2008
  60. Cf. Gilliam at Senses of Cinema Accessed Sept 17 2008
  61. Cf. Kusturica Interview at BNET Accessed Sept 17 2008
  62. Cf. City of Absurdity Quote Collection Accessed Sept 17 2008
  63. Gilbert Guez, Review of The Saragossa Manuscript in Le Figaro (September, 1966), 23
  64. Kezich, 137
  65. Ciment, Michel. "Kubrick: Biographical Notes" Accessed Dec 23 2009
  66. Numerous sources include Affron, Alpert, Bondanella, Kezich, Miller et al.
  67. Miller, 7
  68. Burke and Waller, xv
  69. http://www.wesleyan.edu/cinema/
  70. Baker, Tamzin. "Federico Fellini." Modern Painters, November 2009.


Primary sources
  • Fellini, Federico (1988). Comments on Film. Ed. Giovanni Grazzini. Trans. Joseph Henry. Fresno: The Press of California State University at Fresno.
  • (1993). I disegni di Fellini. Ed. Pier Marco De Santi. Roma: Editori Laterza.
  • and Damian Pettigrew (2003). I'm a Born Liar: A Fellini Lexicon. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. ISBN 0847831353
  • and Tullio Pinelli. Trip to Tulum. Trans. Stefano Gaudiano and Elizabeth Bell. New York: Catalan Communications.
Secondary sources
  • Alpert, Hollis (1988). Fellini: A Life. New York: Paragon House. ISBN 1557780005
  • Bondanella, Peter (1992). The Cinema of Federico Fellini. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00875-2
  • (2002). The Films of Federico Fellini. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Burke, Frank, and M. R. Waller (2003). Federico Fellini: Contemporary Perspectives. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802076475
  • Kezich, Tullio (2006). Federico Fellini: His Life and Work. New York: Faber and Faber, 2006. ISBN 9780571211685
  • Miller, D. A. (2008). . Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Further reading


  • Betti, Liliana (1979). Fellini: An Intimate Portrait. Boston: Little, Brown & Co.
  • Bondanella, Peter (ed.)(1978). Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cianfarani, Carmine (ed.) (1985). Federico Fellini: Leone d'Oro, Venezia 1985. Rome: Anica.
  • Fellini, Federico (2008). The Book of Dreams. New York: Rizzoli.
  • Panicelli, Ida, and Antonella Soldaini (ed.)(1995). Fellini: Costumes and Fashion. Milan: Edizioni Charta. ISBN 8886158823
  • Rohdie, Sam (2002). Fellini Lexicon. London: BFI Publishing.
  • Tornabuoni, Lietta (1995). Federico Fellini. Preface Martin Scorsese. New York: Rizzoli.
  • Walter, Eugene (2002). Milking the Moon: A Southerner's Story of Life on This Planet. Ed. Katherine Clark. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-609-80965-2

Documentaries on Fellini

  • Ciao Federico (1969). Dir. Gideon Bachmann. (60')
  • Federico Fellini - un autoritratto ritrovato (2000). Dir. Paquito Del Bosco. (RAI TV, 68')
  • Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (2002). Dir. Damian Pettigrew. Feature documentary. (ARTE, Eurimages, Scottish Screen, 102')

External links

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