The Italian master of cinema, best known for 8 ½ and La Dolce Vita, but a visionary of consistently realistic and poignant adaptations of real life, transformed on the big screen.
One the most influential film directors of the 20th century, Federico Fellini’s work continues to be celebrated fourteen years after his death. Raised in Rimini, Italy, the circuses and vaudeville performers Federico Fellini saw as a child in his hometown fascinated him and became recurring themes in his films. His Catholic upbringing infused his later work with a strong spiritual dimension. Born In 1943, Fellini met and married actress Giulietta Masina. Masina, a profound influence on the director’s work, appeared in many of Fellini’s films, along with his longtime friend, actor Marcello Mastroianni. Fellini’s most famous works include La Dolce Vita (1960) and 8 ½ (1963). After this period of international film success, Fellini’s career ebbed a bit, but he continued to direct. Voice of the Moon (1990), Fellini’s last, and perhaps his most surreal, picture, was a small film, chock-full of personal references and late-in-life thoughts both bizarre and sad. Critics have cited it as an appropriate postscript to a film career filled with laughter and wonder at life. In March 1993, Fellini received an Academy Award for lifetime achievement, which he dedicated to his wife and artistic muse, Giulietta Masina. Fellini passed away in October 1993, the day after his 50th wedding anniversary.
Visit 1 World Film’s Fellini filmography to read a summary of each of the director’s major works.
Winner of the 1961 Academy Award for Best Picture, La Dolce Vita chronicles seven days and seven nights in the life of a Roman citizen, Marcello. The young gossip columnist chronicles "the sweet life'' of fading aristocrats, second-rate movie stars, aging playboys and women of commerce. The film illustrates the mid-century decadence of the Eternal City while making biting criticisms of Italian culture.
Read movie critic Roger Ebert’s epic review of La Dolce Vita.
Marcello Mastroanni stars in 8 ½, which was loosely based on Fellini’s own life. The plot of the movie revolves around a director who has been commissioned and paid to produce a movie. The only problem is, he can’t think of any good ideas. The title of the film stems from the fact that Fellini considered this work the eighth (and one half) film that he had completed. He had previously directed six features, co-directed one (thus the half), and produced two anthologies (each counting as half). As the character who plays the director searches for inspiration, he retreats into a surreal world of his own dreams and fantasies.
For a blast from the past, read Time’s June 1963 film review of 8 ½.
Before he died, Fellini was working on an outline for a film entitled Journey to Tulum. The plot is based on paranormal events surrounding a trip to Mexico in the 1980s. He reportedly never finished the work because Mexican Shamans contacted him and warned against completing it. Producers Michel Shane and Anthony Romano (I, Robot) stumbled across the piece on a recent trip to Italy and have plans to complete the film.
Take a look at Entertainment Weekly for information on a recent revival of Fellini’s posthumous work.