I’ve been thinking lately how much I owe to Federico Fellini. Back in the 70’s shortly after I graduated from high school and migrated to the big city, Philadelphia [not that big,but bigger than Cleveland] I embarked on a creative input marathon. F.F. was one of my first targets. I was living the art student life of poverty, drugs and “art” films. Fellini was not readily available in Cleveland,but he sure was in the art film houses in Philly.
I remember the first time I saw “La Dolce Vita” They sure didn’t make movies like that here in the U.S.A. Marcello Mastroianni was the coolest guy I had ever seen,those slim Italian suits and sunglasses…What have I been missing?.When he and Anita Ekberg went for a dip in the Trevi fountain I was blown away. So what do these Italians know that I don’t.
I need to see more of these..I was hooked on Frederico. I threw myself into 81/2. I was starting to understand the masters view, his love/ hate for Italian society that was always tempered with compassion, no matter how grotesque his visuals became. I really loved 81/2 more than Dolce. A parade of characters seen through the eyes of Marcello [Frederico’s surrogate] A man totally at odds with female motives.
Amacord still holds a place in my opinion as Fellini’s most tender and compassionate film. A tour through the artists childhood memories.His family relations,the highly charged emotional traits of Italian mothers and the rise of Il Duce. The pubescent desires of young boys and a view of the women who showed them the way. This film also explored the desires of those same women. Especially those of S’il vous plait, a beautiful romantic, in love with love. Blind to reality she tries to capture the life of American cinema sirens only to ultimately realize that life is not a film. The complexity of multiple story lines blew me away as did the unforgettable musical scores by Nino Rota [a huge subject in its own right]. Amacord’s score is legendary. The score become de’rigeur during the height of the 70’s Philadelphia restaurant revival,especially among those who brunch.
Satyricon was without a doubt Fellini’s tour de force visually. Tracing the adventures of two young men through the web of intrigues provided by ancient Rome. There are so many extraordinary scenes it is hard to even begin a discussion. Theaters, brothels, baths, villas, ships, deserts, arenas, dining halls, the list goes on and on. A visual feast. The images are permanently embedded in my minds hard drive. The artistry of each scene is a barometer by which I still measure my own work.
The films release in 1969 caused a bit of a stir,its depiction of pan sexuality in a guiltless ancient roman society was a revelation for me, you name it, he showed it. The film was daring to say the least especially in Catholic Italy. Satyricon had something for every persuasion. I loved it, the liberated 70’s lay ahead of me and I was ready to join in. “When in Rome”
Roma an unflinching look at modern Rome. The perfect beauty,the low vulgarity,the volatility of Italian emotion and the Roman Catholic faith all of Fellini’s favorite subjects.
Roma’s crowning achievement is the Papal fashion show, the art direction is superb. Each costume represents a different aspect of faith, the grandeur,the pageantry,the fear of God and the hypocrisy, an unforgettable statement. Must be seen to appreciate…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYzRL9YIswQ
The scope of Fellini’s creativity is astounding. The closing scene of Roma is brilliant, a motor cycle tour of Rome at night. The perfect contrast of old and new in the Eternal City. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFTiKYxeICU…
Volumes have been written on the films of Fellini, I have only scratched the surface in this posting. Thank you Frederico for opening my eyes to the boundless possibilities of ones creativity. You are always with me.