Monday, January 14, 2008
Federico Fellini (January 20, 1920 – October 31, 1993) was one of the most influential and widely revered film-makers of the 20th century.
Variety Lights (1950), Fellini's first film, was co-directed with the more experienced director, Alberto Lattuada. The film is a charming backstage comedy set amongst the world of small-time traveling performers, a world Fellini knew well after working on Roberto Rossellini's Paisà in 1946. While the film shoot was an exhilarating one for the 30-year-old Fellini, its release to poor reviews and limited distribution proved a disaster for all concerned. The production company went bankrupt, leaving both Fellini and Lattuada with debts to pay for over a decade. In 1990, Fellini won the prestigious Praemium Imperiale awarded by the Japan Art Association. Considered as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the award covers five disciplines: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music, and Theatre/Film. Past winners include Akira Kurosawa, David Hockney, Pina Bausch, and Maurice Béjart.
In 1948 Fellini acted in Roberto Rossellini's Il miracolo with Anna Magnani. To play the role of a silent rogue who is mistaken by Magnani for a saint, Fellini had to bleach his black hair blond. Fellini also wrote scripts for radio shows and movies (most notably for Rossellini, Pietro Germi, Eduardo De Filippo and Mario Monicelli) as well as numerous and often uncredited gags for well known comic actors like Aldo Fabrizi. A gifted caricaturist, Fellini produced satirical drawings in pencil, watercolors and colored felt pens that toured Europe and North America, and which are now eagerly sought after by collectors. Much of the inspiration for his sketches was derived from his own dreams while the films-in-progress stimulated drawings for decor, costumes and set designs (just as it was for Sergei Eisenstein whose own drawings share striking affinities with Fellini's work).
A unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy, and desire, Fellini's films are deeply personal visions of society, often portraying people at their most bizarre. The term "Felliniesque" is used to describe any scene in which a hallucinatory image invades an otherwise ordinary situation. Important contemporary filmmakers such as David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, have all cited Fellini's influence on their work.
Polish director, Wojciech Has (1925-2000), whose two major films, The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) and The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (1973) are outstanding examples of modernist fantasies, has often been compared to Fellini for the sheer "luxuriance of his images" (Gilbert Guez in Le Figaro).
Singer Fish (ex Marillion) released a full album "Fellini Days", taking inspiration for the lyrics and music from the works of Fellini.
Influence and legacy
Links to Fellini's drawings related to single films
Luci del Varietà (1950) (co-credited with Alberto Lattuada)
Lo Sceicco Bianco (1951)  
I Vitelloni (1953) 
L'amore in città (1953) (segment Un'agenzia matrimoniale)
La strada (1954) Oscar (best foreign language film) 
Il bidone (1955)
Le Notti di Cabiria (1957) Oscar (best foreign language film) 
La dolce vita (1960) Oscar (best costumes)
Boccaccio '70 (1962) (segment Le tentazioni del Dottor Antonio)
8½ (1963) Oscar (best foreign language film and best costume design)
Giulietta degli Spiriti (1965)
Histoires extraordinaires (1968) (segment Toby Dammit)
I clowns (1970)
Amarcord (1973) Oscar (best foreign language film)
Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976) Oscar (best costume design)
Prova d'orchestra (1978)
La città delle donne (1980)
E la Nave Va (1983)
Ginger and Fred (1986)
La voce della luna (1990) Filmography as director
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