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Biography of Federico Fellini

(Rimini, 1920 - Roma, 1993)

Born into a middle-class family, a promising artist from a tender age, by 1938 Fellini was already working in Rome for several satirical magazines, including the celebrated "Marc’Aurelio". In 1941 he began working fervently as a scriptwriter and screenwriter: his name appears in the credits of films of the calibre of "Rome, open city (Roma città aperta)" (1945), "Paisan (Paisà)" (1946), "Senza pietà" (1948) and "Europa ‘51" (1951). His directorial debut was as co-director along with Alberto Lattuada of "Variety ligths (Luci del varietà)" (1951), a melancholic excursion into the world of variety theatre. In "The white sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)" (1952) which followed, written with Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli, he abandoned the neorealist tradition, depicting characters suspended between the fantastic and the ironic. The following year, "The young and the passionate (I vitelloni)" earned him the Silver Lion award at Venice as well as much public and critical acclaim: the film, partly autobiographical, sees Fellini return to the provincial town of his youth amid a mixture of nostalgia and repulsion. The years to come brought one success after another: the limpid poetry of "La strada" (1954) won him a well-deserved Oscar, as did another work, the intense "Nights of Cabiria (Le notti di Cabiria)" (1957): both pieces were bolstered by superb performances by his wife, Giulietta Masina. While "The swindlers (Il bidone)" (1955) was never destined to be one of his greatest efforts, "La dolce vita" (1959) was to define an age, immortalising the boom time and the years of domination by the Christian Democrat party with merciless precision: it starred Marcello Mastroianni, who became the filmmaker-demiurge’s favourite actor. Preceded by the thought-provoking segment "Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio" (1961), the superb "Federico Fellini 8 1/2 (8 1/2)" (1963) won him his third Oscar and is widely considered his best film. Less critical acclaim went to the Junghian look at the female soul with "Juliet of the spirit (Giulietta degli spiriti)" (1965) and the chequered journey back to ancient times with "Satyricon" (1969): far more accomplished were the cutting and nightmarish "Toby Dammit" (1967), and the superb scenes focusing on the past in the non-linear Fellini’s "Fellini's Roma (Roma)” (1972). For Fellini the return to his native town of Rimini in "Amarcord" (1973) has palingenetic effects, and here again the director is at his best; another work whose mastery induces a sense of reverence is Fellini’s "Fellini's Casanova (Casanova)" (1976), a dark, hypochondriacal work of extraordinary surrender. The menacing tale of " Orchestra rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra)" (1979), the unnecessary journey into the subconscious of "City of women (La città delle donne)" (1980), the pretentious allusions of "And the ship sails on (E la nave va)" (1983) all point to an inspiration block: Fellini sought refuge from this crisis in the placid anti-consumerist diatribe of "Ginger and Fred" (1986) and in the amusing, melancholic notes of "Fellini's intervista (Intervista)" (1987). Lastly there is the testamentary "The voice of the moon (La voce della luna)" (1990), with its razor-sharp reflections on the ugliness of the present day seen through the eyes of two social outcasts: a flawless little tale that closes with a subdued invitation to silence. That we might understand better.

F.T.

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Italica is a Rai International production. The material displayed on this site is protected by copyright and is available for informative purposes only

 


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Biography of Federico Fellini

(Rimini, 1920 - Roma, 1993)

Born into a middle-class family, a promising artist from a tender age, by 1938 Fellini was already working in Rome for several satirical magazines, including the celebrated "Marc’Aurelio". In 1941 he began working fervently as a scriptwriter and screenwriter: his name appears in the credits of films of the calibre of "Rome, open city (Roma città aperta)" (1945), "Paisan (Paisà)" (1946), "Senza pietà" (1948) and "Europa ‘51" (1951). His directorial debut was as co-director along with Alberto Lattuada of "Variety ligths (Luci del varietà)" (1951), a melancholic excursion into the world of variety theatre. In "The white sheik (Lo sceicco bianco)" (1952) which followed, written with Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli, he abandoned the neorealist tradition, depicting characters suspended between the fantastic and the ironic. The following year, "The young and the passionate (I vitelloni)" earned him the Silver Lion award at Venice as well as much public and critical acclaim: the film, partly autobiographical, sees Fellini return to the provincial town of his youth amid a mixture of nostalgia and repulsion. The years to come brought one success after another: the limpid poetry of "La strada" (1954) won him a well-deserved Oscar, as did another work, the intense "Nights of Cabiria (Le notti di Cabiria)" (1957): both pieces were bolstered by superb performances by his wife, Giulietta Masina. While "The swindlers (Il bidone)" (1955) was never destined to be one of his greatest efforts, "La dolce vita" (1959) was to define an age, immortalising the boom time and the years of domination by the Christian Democrat party with merciless precision: it starred Marcello Mastroianni, who became the filmmaker-demiurge’s favourite actor. Preceded by the thought-provoking segment "Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio" (1961), the superb "Federico Fellini 8 1/2 (8 1/2)" (1963) won him his third Oscar and is widely considered his best film. Less critical acclaim went to the Junghian look at the female soul with "Juliet of the spirit (Giulietta degli spiriti)" (1965) and the chequered journey back to ancient times with "Satyricon" (1969): far more accomplished were the cutting and nightmarish "Toby Dammit" (1967), and the superb scenes focusing on the past in the non-linear Fellini’s "Fellini's Roma (Roma)” (1972). For Fellini the return to his native town of Rimini in "Amarcord" (1973) has palingenetic effects, and here again the director is at his best; another work whose mastery induces a sense of reverence is Fellini’s "Fellini's Casanova (Casanova)" (1976), a dark, hypochondriacal work of extraordinary surrender. The menacing tale of " Orchestra rehearsal (Prova d'orchestra)" (1979), the unnecessary journey into the subconscious of "City of women (La città delle donne)" (1980), the pretentious allusions of "And the ship sails on (E la nave va)" (1983) all point to an inspiration block: Fellini sought refuge from this crisis in the placid anti-consumerist diatribe of "Ginger and Fred" (1986) and in the amusing, melancholic notes of "Fellini's intervista (Intervista)" (1987). Lastly there is the testamentary "The voice of the moon (La voce della luna)" (1990), with its razor-sharp reflections on the ugliness of the present day seen through the eyes of two social outcasts: a flawless little tale that closes with a subdued invitation to silence. That we might understand better.

F.T.

dx3.jpg (15340 bytes)
dx2.jpg (12633 bytes)
dx4.jpg (12479 bytes)


logorai.gif (2283 byte)

  trasp.gif (837 byte)

Italica is a Rai International production. The material displayed on this site is protected by copyright and is available for informative purposes only