Author Topic: Federico Fellini  (Read 30962 times)

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cine

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Federico Fellini
« on: April 05, 2003, 01:58:36 PM »
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No Fellini threads.. so I'm making one. My favourite Fellini films are "8 1/2", "La Dolce Vita", "Juliet of the Spirits", and "Amarcord." He's another one of those great directors who had to wait until a few months before he died to receive an honourary Oscar. No one like him will ever come around again.

Ghostboy

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2003, 01:15:10 PM »
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I'm surprised no one responded to this yet! My favorites, too (and most everyone else's) are 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita and Armacord.  The only other ones I've seen are Nights of Cabriria, La Strada and Intervista (which I was disappointed by, actually, but was still a lovely closing note to his career).

I think one of his greatest assets is his love of the people in the films; he's such a  compassionate directorr. This is most obvious in Armacord, which is what I'd reccomend first to anyone who's looking to get into his stuff. Its a really wonderful experience.

I first got into his stuff early in high school, when Tim Burton (my idol at the time) said that he was one of his favorite filmmakers.

Gold Trumpet

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2003, 09:29:42 PM »
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"Heaven has quite clearly divided humankind in two: those poor wretches who don't respond to Federico Fellini's work and the rest of blessed us for whom Fellini's best films are part of our memory, our dreams, our wisdom in some measure, and our secret sublimation. The person for whom I Vitelloni and 8 1/2 and Amarcord are not private property has, I and many others would say, suffered the wrong incarnation. He or she would do better to go back and start all over again."

-Film Critic Stanley Kauffmann on Fellini

With the joking that could be brought from that quote, it feels it could only be taken seriously for the artistry of Fellini than anyone else in the movies. The question to whether or not he is a great filmmaker seems already answered. The question to whether or not he is the greatest of filmmaker/artists ever to touch film is the real question. Even though I realize Fellini has made some awful films, especially later in his career, he has given us some of the greatest films, especially his two best that came right after each other and are on my top ten list for best ever made - La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2. 8 1/2 represents prolly the most dazzling feat of filmmaking genius I've ever seen. A movie that single handidly divided the history of film into two, by identifying the old film world dominated by studio systems and what a lot of people now identify as the "boring films" and then into the second where film began with roots of an indepedent filmmaking root where the camera can, and usually does come alive. It isn't about what the actors say in front of the camera, but the wonder and mystery of images that are attainable through film. La Dolce Vita represents the grand painting of how diverse in meaning, thought and curiosity to what film can be. No morals are brought upon by the film, but a canvas of a man's life that changes the viewers opinion of him as they grow and age with time. If a movie was ever to dominate the atmosphere of truly evolving with time, then it would be La Dolce Vita.

~rougerum

cowboykurtis

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2003, 09:46:52 PM »
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i think thedream sequence to 81/2 is one of the most wonderful openings in cinema history -- absolutely breathtaking.
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ShanghaiOrange

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2003, 10:24:08 PM »
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I just saw my first Fellini film (8 1/2) yesterday. Guido looked so stylish, even fourty years later.. The ending parade was beautiful. :(
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cine

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2003, 11:49:25 PM »
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Yeah, its beautiful from beginning to end. Another one of his films I love is "Roma" mostly because I visited Rome and I thought his vision of it was dazzling. A unique piece of art, it was..

snaporaz

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2003, 04:47:13 AM »
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<- i fucking love it.

SoNowThen

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2003, 12:24:50 PM »
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8 1/2 & Amarcord get top vote until I can see La Dolce Vita in better quality. But most underrated, I think, is And The Ship Sails On. A wonderful little movie, thanks goodness for Criterion.... I would never have watched it if they hadn't put it out. It's not his greatest, but somebody said it might be the most accessable Fellini movie.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2003, 10:23:10 AM »
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Anybody going to check out the new doc: "Fellini: I'm A Born Liar"?

Review from Los Angeles Times:

Federico Fellini, unfettered
The documentary 'I'm a Born Liar' is as charming and exasperating as the man himself.

"Fellini: I'm a Born Liar" is a documentary about the celebrated Italian director and what he called "a life spent with light and shadows" that's made with an ambition the maestro himself would have appreciated and approved. For the rest of us, that is largely, but not entirely, a good thing.

Canadian Damian Pettigrew's film centers on 10 hours of interviews he did with Fellini just months before the director's death in 1993. "Born Liar" is both completely fascinating and intermittently frustrating; however, as with Fellini's own films, the downside is far outweighed by the pluses.

One thing that is beyond doubt is Pettigrew's devotion to Fellini, whom he first met in 1983 and pursued for a decade to get the extended interviews, which the director called "the longest and most detailed conversation ever recorded on my personal vision." Then Pettigrew sat on the material for years before he found collaborators willing to finance his vision of how it should be used.

Pettigrew used the intervening time to dig up remarkable visual ephemera. Some of the most intriguing items, like an unnerving baby picture of the great man and candid, 8-millimeter black-and-white footage of the youthful director and star Marcello Mastroianni on the set of "La Dolce Vita," have never been made public before.

Though Mastroianni is unaccountably missing, Pettigrew also interviewed key people in Fellini's life, from actors Terence Stamp and Donald Sutherland to some of the director's old friends and collaborators. Though the actors are recognizable, individuals like Titta Benzi, Rinaldo Geleng and even cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno are not, and the film's overly arty decision not to identify any of the speakers until the final credits is an unnecessary irritant.

This unwarranted insistence that "Born Liar" is, in the press kit's words, "no mere biographical portrait but an energetic philosophical inquiry" leads to another bothersome omission. For though Pettigrew has gone to considerable trouble to shoot contemporary footage of the exact spots where some of the director's classic scenes were filmed, the lack of identifying subtitles make it unclear, except for those who've memorized every frame of Fellini's films, exactly what locales we're revisiting.

Despite these self-imposed obstacles, there's a lot to like about "Born Liar," starting with that comprehensive interview, which reveals Fellini to be an intoxicating conversationalist, articulate, expansive and capable of giving radically different takes on the same subject.

At different points, for instance, Fellini describes a director as "a craftsman who's a medium," "an impostor, clown, general and chief of police" as well as "a creator who always has something of almighty God."

He also claims not to recognize his films once they're finished and talks engagingly of how when he directs "a mysterious invader takes over the whole show.... It's someone else, not me, with whom I coexist, someone I don't know, or know only by hearsay."

Though Fellini claims to have wonderful relationships with his actors, he is immediately contradicted by eye-popping anecdotes from both Stamp ("Toby Dammit") and Sutherland ("Casanova"), the latter calling him "a martinet, a tyrant, a dictator. The first five weeks of shooting were hell on Earth."

Equally intriguing is vintage behind-the-scenes footage showing Fellini in the act of directing. For a sequence in "Amarcord," he intensively coaches an actor, playing two parts and giving verbal as well as facial clues. Shooting a carnal threesome for "Satyricon," he walks the actors through the scene, talking them through it beat by beat as they are performing just as if he were directing a silent film.

After experiencing all this, it is no surprise to hear the director say that "things that are most real for me are invented.... I feel exiled, a bit empty away from the set. I can't cope with what is called normal existence."

Fellini may have been a born liar, but that made him a born filmmaker as well.


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Related Article:

Lurking beneath the legend, Fellini is there for the discovery
Ten years after the director's death, his aesthetic and style can be reappraised in several local screenings.

Beware the adjective. As the descriptive term "Felliniesque" has become part of the lexicon, it has lost its specificity with regard to the output of Italian film director Federico Fellini. Any fresh consideration of his life and work requires a viewer to set aside the vague images of grotesque clowns at the seaside that have attached themselves to the term in order to fully appreciate the stunning breadth and beauty of Fellini's films.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Fellini's passing, and two local art-house exhibitors are commemorating the occasion. The Landmark chain will be showing Damian Pettigrew's new documentary, "Fellini: I'm a Born Liar," at its Nuart theater for one week beginning today, while Laemmle Theatres will screen many of Fellini's greatest works, including "8 1/2," "I Vitelloni," "Nights of Cabiria" and "La Strada," on weekend mornings throughout the spring and summer at their Sunset 5 and Monica 4 theaters.

Fellini, along with directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Roberto Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni, was among the wave of filmmakers who brought international cinema to the American public during the 1950s and '60s, achieving tremendous popularity and acclaim. Massively influential during his creative heyday, Fellini would win four Academy Awards for best foreign-language film, as well as an honorary lifetime achievement award.

A Canadian-born documentarian living in Paris and a longtime fan, Pettigrew first met Fellini in 1983 while working on a project about the writer Italo Calvino. It was not until the early 1990s, however, that Fellini would sit for more than 10 hours of interviews.

Combining the interviews with recollections from actors Terence Stamp, Donald Sutherland and Roberto Benigni, as well as such collaborators as production designer Dante Ferretti, screenwriter Tullio Pinelli and cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, the film is less a straightforward biography than a survey of Fellini's aesthetics and style.

Fellini's outsized personality, both on-screen as a filmmaker and off-screen as a loquacious raconteur and tall-tale teller, has led many people to view his films as if each were only about him, chapters in an ongoing autobiography. While there is certainly a large element of that in his work -- "8 1/2" is in fact the eighth film he directed (plus one co-direction for the 1/2), and he frequently cast his wife, Giulietta Masina, as a much-put-upon spouse -- it is shortsighted to think of his films only in this way.

As Pettigrew concedes via e-mail from Paris, Fellini's own showmanship and urge to talk were rarely about revealing himself to others. "Fellini was a hugely original spirit," says Pettigrew, "a bona fide gagman, the king of contradiction, a well-oiled motor mouth -- in short, anything except a thinker. He needed the interviews and the media because it was during these seeming exercises in vanity that he discovered things about himself. If you pushed him hard enough, he would come up with things that surprised even him."

If the passage of time has left Fellini's popular standing in flux, as viewers struggle to find the merits of the films themselves beneath the weight of their reputation, the difficulty of grappling with Fellini is nothing new.

Even at the height of his productivity, Fellini underwent a fair amount of critical reappraisal. For example, writing about "Nights of Cabiria" in 1959, Andrew Sarris noted positively the "familiar landmarks of the anarchic sub-world of Fellini's imagination." Ten years later, Fellini's "Toby Dammit," a loose adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story for the omnibus film "Spirits of the Dead," would move Sarris to ask, "At what point, therefore, does a personal cinematic language become a tired cliche?"

Which brings back the vexing notion of the "Felliniesque." Whether one sees the filmmaker as mining the same vein over and over again or creating and engaging an aesthetic world all his own is perhaps a matter of personal taste. Simply cataloging the similarities from film to film overlooks the extreme breadth of styles Fellini's work could encompass, from the cluttered, hallucinogenic kaleidoscope of "Juliet of the Spirits" to the spare, haunted, Giorgio de Chirico- inspired imagery of "8 1/2." Although he did often resort to his infamous "life is a circus" metaphor, Fellini's worldview seemed to comprise equal parts hope and resignation.

As Pettigrew notes, "With a few exceptions, Fellini's films have failure and despair running through them: Life continues, but I can't imagine 'Felliniesque' as an exclusively uplifting adjective. Fellini's best films are the ones that distill this essence -- the paradoxical quality of melancholic ecstasy, a surreal, bittersweet vitality -- to perfection." Taken together, Pettigrew's documentary and the retrospective screenings provide an excellent opportunity to discover with fresh eyes what it was that vaulted the films of Federico Fellini, as well as their creator, to international acclaim.

Asked to summarize how Fellini should be remembered, Pettigrew replies, "Probably for one thing only: a deeply personal vision of cinema that, at its height, expanded the boundaries of what cinematic art could be."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Pastor Parsley

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2003, 12:31:07 PM »
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fellini is great.  my favorites are 8 1/2, La Strada, La Dolce Vita, and Amarcord.  I couldn't agree more with GhostBoy - his compassion for his characters show.

Gold Trumpet

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2003, 02:07:07 PM »
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Again, another quote from the critic Stanley Kauffmann that deals directly with the compassion Fellini had as a filmmaker:

"During his lifetime, many fine filmmakers blessed us with their art, but he was the only one who made us feel that each of his films, whatever its merits, was a present from a friend."

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Pastor Parsley

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2003, 02:45:41 PM »
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Quote from: The Gold Trumpet
"...a present from a friend."

~rougerum


i couldn't have put it into words, but that's exactly it.

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2003, 09:34:00 PM »
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i bought the 8 1/2 criterion this weekend. great film.
someone mentioned the influence on Tim Burton and i really see it. i believe he used some of the music in Pee Wee or Beetlejuice. i also saw that Fellini, Gilliam and Burton all started out as cartoonists? interesting.

anywho. if i like 8 1/2, what Fellini should i see next? oh, one problem. where i live there is no availability of foreign films to rent. only stuff like Abre los Ojos. no Godard, Fellini, Truffaut, etc. so i guess i'd have to actually buy one of the Criterions or maybe join Netflix (do they carry a good selection of foreign films?)

it blew my mind that hasting's had this disc. i actually didn't mind paying a few dollars more than i could have gotten offline. the manager must be a cinephile. it was no fluke because they also had the other DVD version of 8 1/2, breathless, 4 of the Kurosawa Criterions.
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Ghostboy

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2003, 12:39:15 AM »
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The Pee Wee's Big Adventure Score is definitely a very deliberate homage to Nino Rota (although there's some Herrman in there too).

Here are some quotes from Burton on Burton:

"The thing I liked about Fellini was that he created images that even if you didn't know what they meant literally, you felt something. It's not creating images to create images. And even though I didn't fully understand a lot of what he was saying, I could feel a heart behind it. That's what his work meant to me, that things don't have to be literal, you don't ahve to understand everything."

And...

"I never like jumping from one movie to another, because it's too much of a harsh experience. Luckily, it leaves you, so that you can do it again, but it does get harder and harder. That's why I think I always liked Fellini movies, because he seemed to capture the spirit and the magic of making a movie. It is something that is beautiful and you want to obtain it because it gives you the energy to keep going."

Pastor Parsley

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Federico Fellini
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2003, 05:52:36 PM »
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Quote from: bigideas
where i live there is no availability of foreign films to rent.


i have the same problem.  unless i want the box office hits, i'm out of luck as far as rentals go.  i request through the public library, films from the university libraries in my state.  I can get just about everything and never pay a dime.  you might be able to do the same.

 

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