Federico Fellini tribute in Venice festival
VENICE, Italy - A new biopic about the late film director Federico Fellini by his friend Ettore Scola, one of Italy's greatest living filmmakers, received a standing ovation at its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival on Friday, September 6.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano attended the showing of the film, "Che strano chiamarsi Federico" - a patchwork of archive footage of the great director at work, interviews with people who knew him, and a dramatization of his early years.
"I felt emotional. I knew Fellini," Napolitano told reporters after the premiere, adding: "Fellini like no other director could bring together reality and imagination. He portrayed an Italian humanity."
The film is timed with the 20th anniversary of Fellini's death on October 31, 1993, but is scheduled to come out in Italy a month earlier.
Fellini, who shot his first film in 1950, is most famous internationally for his 1960 film "La Dolce Vita" - a caustic yet picturesque tragicomedy on Italy's glitterati.
The word "paparazzi" was popularized by the character Paparazzo (also a photographer) in that film, although Fellini borrowed that name from a character (who was a hotelkeeper) in the Victorian novel "By the Ionian Sea," by George Gissing.
Scola, 82, who is best known for his "We All Loved Each Other So Much" from 1974, cried as he talked about his late friend after the showing.
"If you see tears, it's because after you get to 80 everything makes you cry, even a well-cooked steak," he joked.
"But if Fellini knew about this, he would be pissed off. He was always jolly and self-ironic."
Fellini is one of the pioneering artists of world cinema. His influence continues to be felt among today’s filmmakers, although his quaint and charming, childlike and visually expressive style may be regarded as old school, in the context of today’s frenetic filmmaking.
Here’s a typical Fellini opening scene:
Fellini hit his stride in the Fifties and Sixties, with landmark films like "La Dolce Vita," "La Strada," and "The Nights of Cabiria" - chronicling the poverty of postwar Italy, the frivolities of the Italian aristocracy, the poignant lives of prostitutes and circus performers, and his own preoccupation with fantasy and dreams as interfering with reality.
His greatest foils in his movies were Marcello Mastroianni – the suave Italian actor with the post-coital aura, widely regarded as his alter ego - and the Bambi-eyed, diminutive but animated actress Giulietta Masina, Fellini’s wife.
The late Filipino filmmaker Lino Brocka, who is not known to be a fan of celebrity even in the glittering film festivals abroad that he attended, introduced himself to Masina as a fan when he saw her in one such festival.
Here's Giulietta Masina's dance number in 'The Nights of Cabiria':
Fellini had won many citations in a long and prolific career, including 4 Oscars plus an honorary Oscar in 1993. He died soon after, followed by his wife's passing in 1994.
Here's Nicole Kidman (with Daniel Day-Lewis) in a musical version of the soul-searching conversation between Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale in Fellini's "8 1/2," his landmark film about a filmmaker caught in an artistic crisis.
The film musical, "Nine," directed by Rob Marshall, was originally a Broadway production, also inspired by "8 1/2" and starring Antonio Banderas. (Day-Lewis portrays the Mastroianni character in the film version.)
Here's American film director Martin Scorsese on Federico Fellini:
And here's Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso with an Italian number ("Luna Rossa") that pays tribute to Fellini and Masina:
- with additional reports by Rappler.com