"I don't like the idea of 'understanding' a film. I don't believe that rational understanding is an essential element in the reception of any work of art. Either a film has something to say to you or it hasn't. If you are moved by it, you don't need to have it explained to you. If not, no explanation can make you moved by it." - Frederico Fellini
Federico Fellini was one of the leading figures of the international cinema in the 1960s, whose dreamlike images and indelible characters madeLa strada (starring his wife Giulietta Masina), La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, and Amarcord among the most acclaimed films of that era. Fellini himself was a character as unique as any he created for his films, an expansive and outsized visionary who could be either a pleasure or a terror to work with.
"Federico Fellini's name is recognized as one of the icons of world cinema. He had no formal film training and appropriately his cinema is steeped in personal expression and often imbued with carnivalesque fantasy as one of his more colorful signatures. He repeatedly explored the roles and relationships between unattached lovers, parents / children and separating spouses. His admitted influences included preferences for Chaplin, Keaton, and other comedians of that era as well as Luis BuĖuel (admiring his biting satirist films) preferring them to those currently recognized with him as canons of the world cinema stage (Bergman, Dreyer, Kurosawa etc.). He was known to have a volatile temper during the film shooting process - one which he never disguised to outsiders on the set. He seemed to utilize this fervent passion as part of his creative process. Constantly capturing public interest, his recognized 'muse', and wife of over 40 years (till his death), Giulietta Masina was occasionally cast as his leading lady." - The Director's Chair: dvdbeaver
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"La strada (1954), the film Fellini called 'the complete catalogue of my entire mythological world,' is a starring vehicle for wife Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina, a clownish waif who communicates best with nature and children. Sold by her mother to Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a travelling circus strongman, she accompanies his act on trumpet. They are joined by the Fool (Richard Basehart), who walks a tightrope high over provincial squares. When brutish Zampano accidentally kills the Fool, Gelsomina goes mad and eventually dies. News of her death wrings tears from Zampano at film's end. . ." - Senses of Cinema
La dolce vita drew on all the subjects that both interested and appalled Fellini about Italian society and the world during the late '50s through the '60s – religion, spiritualism, adultery, sexuality, intellectualism. Marcello Rubino (Marcello Mastroianni) is Moraldo, a photo-reporter in Rome. The narrative follows Marcello, his affairs with his sometime mistress (Anouk Aimée); escorting a Swedish-American actress (Anita Ekberg) around Rome to wade through the Trevi Fountain; meeting up with his mentor Steiner (Alain Cuny); his coverage of a sighting of the Virgin by two children; attending a party of Steiner's that features vapid intellectualizing; wearing out his father in the course of the older man's short visit; discovering Steiner's suicide and murder of his two children; drunkenly riding a young woman on her hands and knees at a decadent orgy; and stumbling upon a monster fish on the beach at dawn. . .
Four directors tell tales of Eros fit for a 1970s Decameron. Working-class lovers, Renzo and Luciana, marry but must hide it from her employer; plus, they need a room of their own. A billboard of Anita Ekberg provocatively selling milk gives a prudish crusader for public decency more than he can handle. The wife of a count whose escapades with call girls make the front page of the papers decides to work to prove her independence, but what is she qualified to do? A buxom carnival-booth manager who owes back taxes offers herself for one night in a lottery: a nerdy sacristan and a jealous cowboy make for a lovers' triangle. In each, women take charge, but not always happily." - IMDb
Note: Valerio Fioravanti (Cupid) was a child actor who later became a neo-fascist terrorist. Was arrested and convicted for homicide of policemen and for the slaughter in Bologna station. He is featured in the documentary film, Most Wanted Man directed by Giusva
Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio
with Anita Ekberg
La riffa / The Raffle
with Sophia Loren
Renzo e Luciana
with Marisa Solinas
Il lavoro / The Job
with Romy Schneider
Vittorio De Sica
8 1/2 aka Otto e Mezzo
Otto e Mezzo turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a director whose - film and life - is collapsing around him. An early working title for the film was "La Bella Confusione" (The Beautiful Confusion), and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act. The 1963 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign-Language Film - DVDbeaver
"One of the most memorable scenes in 8 1/8 involves Saraghina, a horrendous, but irresistible woman-monster representing a traumatic vision of sex.
In real life, Saraghina was a seaside prostitute who sold herself for the sardines left in the fishermen's nests. Dubbed by Fellini a "Moby Dick from Rimini", she stuck in the director's mind since he first saw her when he was 8 years old. In 8 1/2, Saraghina is played by Edra Gale, an American opera student, who auditioned to play Guido's mistress, but was instead chosen for the part of the seaside prostitute dancing the rumba on a soundtrack by Nino Rota for the kids from the nearby catholic boarding school." - Irenebrination
A girl dressed in white (Claudia), played by Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, appears at the spa grounds to Guido in a dreamlike fashion and offers him a cup of healing mineral water. The purposely overexposed sequence of this beautiful woman symbolizes Guido's search for clarity in his life, with the water as a source of purification. Claudia reappears in the Harem daydream scene and also at the end of the movie, when she drives off with Guido to an old piazza to discuss the film and a part for her. Here Guido finally admits that there is not a part for her. It seems that he is finally finding the courage to confess his lies and confusion. Fabrizio Borin sees the character of Claudia as a solution to Guido's fears, and states that the choice of "the young Claudia Cardinale, with her deep, hoarse voice, triggers the stream-of-consciousness, the flow of a man's consciousness, in teetering balance between the possible and the illusory." - Cincinnati Artists Blog
Claudia and Guido:
C: I don't get it. He meets a girl who brings him back to life and he spurns her?
G: Because he's given up hope . . .
C: Because he's incapable of love.
G: Because it's not true a woman can change a man.
C: Because he's incapable of love.
G: And above all because I don't feel like telling another pile of lies.
C: Because he's incapable of love.
In Giulietta degli spiriti (1965), Fellini's first color feature film, analyzes the identity crisis of identity of Giulietta (Giulietta Masina), a middle-aged Italian housewife's quest for psychic freedom. She is impeded by both her philandering husband and the critical, reprimanding women (her mother and sisters) who surround her. Her gift for seeing spirits summons a large group of people, all ghosts from her past, with whom she must reconcile.
Juliet of the Spirits as a film is highly contested, one of grotesque over the top exercises that feels "indulgent" and is plagued by stories of Fellini using its production as a way to work with his wife (Giulietta Masina) and his mistress (Sandra Milo) while fantasizing an inner life for Masina. Thankfully, the film was a critical and financial failure.
"In first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the "Arbiter of Elegance" in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence. . . " Movielad.blog
Fellini's Toby Dammit, the third story in the trilogy Spirits of the Dead is a travesty in French. Like his Casanova, Fellini's segment is built around the performance of a single actor, in this case Terence Stamp, who performs his role in English. In fact, the very premise of the story as conceived by Fellini is the alienation of the central character, a substance-abusing English actor promoting a film in Italy, who speaks English while everyone else around him is speaking Italian, a language he doesn't understand. . .
Toby Dammit (with Terence Stamp)
William Wilson (with Alain Delon)
Metzengerstein (with Jane Fonda)
Amarcord is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale about Titta, an adolescent boy growing up among an eccentric cast of characters in the fictional town of Borgo (based on Fellini's hometown of Rimini) in 1930s Fascist Italy. Titta's sentimental education is emblematic of Italy's 'lapse of conscience.' Fellini skewers Mussolini's ludicrous posturings and those of a Catholic Church that'imprisoned Italians in a perpetual adolescence,'by mocking himself and his fellow villagers in comic scenes that underline their incapacity to adopt genuine moral responsibility or outgrow foolish sexual fantasies." - Wikipedia
The film portrays how Casanova's (Donald Sutherland ) life becomes a freakish journey into sexual abandonment and opens with a carnival in Venice as a prelude to a series of erotic encounters that follow Giacomo Casanova through the cities of 18th century Europe. By using a range of visual effects, Fellini attempted to depict Casanova as a debauched figure incapable of displaying any genuine emotion; any meaningful sensuality is eclipsed by increasingly strange situations. Fellini's narrative presents Casanova's adventures in a detached, methodical fashion, as the respect he yearns for is constantly undermined by more basic urges. Shot entirely at the Cinecittą studios in Rome, the film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. . . Wikipedia
Fellini's City of Women
And the Ship Sails On
"In Fellini's quirky, imaginative fable, a motley crew of European aristocrats (and a lovesick rhinoceros!) board a luxurious ocean liner on the eve of World War I to scatter the ashes of a beloved diva. Fabricated entirely in Rome's famed Cinecitta studios, And the Ship Sails On (E la nave va) reaches spectacular new visual heights with its stylized re-creation of a decadent bygone era." - dvdbeaver.com