The road to the sweet life – 100 years of Federico Fellini

A master of the Italian cinema; one of the greatest filmmakers in history; an immortal genius; or even a “mere artisan who has nothing to say but knows how to say it”. The definition between quotation marks was pronounced by FEDERICO FELLINI himself, the genius, the immortal, the master, one of the most important filmmakers of all time. Fellini would be a hundred years old in January 2020, but his legacy tends to infinity. Eternalized by his films on lists of best movies ever, Fellini is also considered the most influential Italian director.

Between his first movie, ‘Variety Lights’ (Luci del varietà -1950), and the last one ‘The voice of the moon (La voce della luna -1990) an important era has marked the history of cinema. A period in which many masterpieces have been on the big screen, such as ‘La strada‘  (1954), that gave him international fame; The nights of ‘Cabiria’ (Le notti di Cabiria – 1957), ‘8½’ (1963) and ‘Amarcord’ (1973) that on the Emilia-Romagna dialect would be the verbalization of “Io mi ricordo” (I remember). Four classics earned him four Oscar for the best Foreign Film.

Fellini went beyond. By giving us La dolce vita in 1960 he won the Golden Palm at Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best costumes. In 1963 and 1987, he won the golden prize at the Moscow International Film Festival for ‘8½’ and ‘Interview‘ (Intervista). In 1985, he won the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival, a prize that was repeated in 1993 in Los Angeles at the 65th Annual Academy Awards. And also, ‘Casanova’, that won the prize of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1976, ‘I vitelloni’ (1953), ‘Satyricon’ (1969), ‘Rome’ (1972), ‘Ginger and Fred’  (1980) and ‘E la nave va’ (1983) contributed to the huge heritage that Federico Fellini left to the world of cinema.

Federico Fellini (Unknown author, Wikipedia, Public domain)

La dolce vita by Fellini (1960) with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in the Trevi fountain, in Roma. (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

A year-long celebration

A year-long birthday. That’s how Rimini, the city where Fellini was born on January 20th, 1920, prepared to celebrate its most famous son. The festivities have already started with the exhibition of “Fellini 100 – Immortal Genius” hosted in Castel Sismondo until March 15th. In April, the exhibition will be moved to Rome and then Los Angeles, Moscow, and Berlin while other special events are scheduled in Rimini. Brazil is also celebrating Fellini’s centenary. In Rio de Janeiro, the Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil (Bank of Brazil Cultural Center) shows “Fellini, The Master”, an exhibition that will be also taken to São Paulo and the capital Brasilia. In addition, the Museum of Modern Art, the Italian Institute of Culture, and the Italian Consulate jointly hold the exhibition The Brain (and walk) of Guido Anselmi. In Recife, the Caixa Cultural [Federal Savings Bank Cultural Center] prepared the exhibition of “A estrada da vida – 100 anos de Federico Fellini” (The road of life – 100 years of Federico Fellini).

Federico Fellini lived his first 19 years in Rimini before moving to Rome. In the Capital, he worked as a journalist and made his way up collaborating in the making of some films until he became one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of cinema. Fellini died on October 31st, 1993. Italy had already had its historical period characterized by the “Dolce Vita” (Sweet Life) which for Fellini “had the sense of knowing how to look reality with new eyes” and of this he was a master. He had a particular, imaginative, and visionary look, as he defined himself. In Fellini’s understanding, “everything is imagined” and by welcoming his peculiar gaze we can understand that “There is no endThere is no beginningThere is only the infinite passion for life.”


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