Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini – Le Notti di Cabiria AKA The Nights of Cabiria (1957)

Plot Synopsis
Tragic story of a naive prostitute searching for true love in the seediest sections of Rome.

Nights of Cabiria Essay by Federico Fellini
The subject of loneliness and the observation of the isolated person has always interested me. Even as a child, I couldn’t help but notice those who didn’t fit in for one reason or another—myself included. In life, and for my films, I have always been interested in the out-of-step. Curiously, it’s usually those who are either too smart or those who are too stupid who are left out. The difference is, the smart ones often isolate themselves, while the less intelligent ones are usually isolated by the others. In Nights of Cabiria, I explore the pride of one of those who has been excluded. Read More »

Federico Fellini – I Clowns (1971)

A ragout of real memories and mockumentary, as Fellini explores a childhood obsession: circus clowns.

Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid wrote:
The arc of Federico Fellini’s career is endlessly fascinating. He started as something of a neo-realist, and then his films grew in style and scope until they became bizarre, swirl-colored, phantasmagoric spectacles. Then at one point, he stepped back again and began making more intimate, personal projects in the last section of his career. Made for television, The Clowns seems to have been a crucial turning point; it came immediately after the overblown Satyricon, and it shows an interesting mix of that film, and the film that would come just a few years later, the wonderful Amarcord. It fits perfectly. Read More »

Federico Fellini – Il bidone AKA The Swindle (1955)

Aging small-time con man Augusto, who swindles peasants, works with two younger men: Roberto, who wants to become the Italian Johnny Ray, and Bruno, nicknamed Picasso, who has a wife and daughter and wants to paint. Augusto avoids the personal entanglements, spending money at clubs seeking the good life. His attitude changes when he runs into his own daughter, whom he rarely sees, and realizes she’s now a young woman and in need of his help to continue her studies. His usual partners are away, so he goes in with others to run a swindle, and they aren’t forgiving when he claims he’s given the money back to their mark. They leave him beaten, robbed, and alone. Read More »

Federico Fellini – Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976)

Fellini’s Casanova (Il Casanova di Federico Fellini) is a 1976 Italian film by director Federico Fellini, adapted from the autobiography of Giacomo Casanova, the 18th century adventurer and writer.

Shot entirely at the Cinecittà studios in Rome, the film won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, with the Oscar going to Danilo Donati.

The film portrays Casanova’s life as a freakish journey into sexual abandonment. Any meaningful emotion or sensuality is eclipsed by increasingly strange situations. The narrative presents Casanova’s adventures in a detached, methodical fashion, as the respect he yearns for is constantly undermined by more basic urges. Read More »

Federico Fellini – Giulietta degli spiriti AKA Juliet of the Spirits (1965)


Fellini lore has it that the master made “Juliet of the Spirits” as a gift for his wife. Like many husbands, he gave her the gift he really wanted for himself. The movie, starring a sad-eyed Giulietta Masina who fears her husband is cheating, suggests she’d be happier if she were more like her neighbor, a buxom temptress who entertains men in a tree house. Read More »

Gianfranco Angelucci & Liliane Betti – E il Casanova di Fellini? aka And Fellini’s Casanova? (1975)


…the “crypto-documentary” by Gianfranco Angelucci amd Liliana Betti E il Casanova di Fellini? (And Fellini’s Casanova?) made for the RAI, in which Federico submits some friends to a screen test for the part of Casanova: Mastroianni, Tognazzi, Gassman, Alain Cuny and an exhilarating Alberto Sordi deeply involved in the part. Read More »

Federico Fellini – I vitelloni (1953)


Five men walk arm-in-arm through a sleepy Adriatic town, their lockstep a gentle echo of Italy’s Fascistic past. Such posses are quite common in Italy, where close male friendships, equal parts sensuality and ritual, are second only to the family in importance. I Vitelloni (the best sense of it is “the idlers”), Fellini’s third film, includes some of his most subtle filmmaking and most personal material. Loosely structured and oddly narrated, I Vitelloni is like a sketch for both La Dolce Vita and Amarcord. Paradoxically, I Vitelloni is also an insightful and accurate representation of Italy in the immediate postwar period, full of references to the massive social changes underway. Fifty years after its release, I Vitelloni can finally be seen as a seminal film in Italian cinema, one of the first to detail the effects of technology, celebrity, and mobility on Italian life. Read More »