Federico Fellini: Italian of the Week

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”
Federico Fellini

Federico_Fellini_NYWTS_2Federico Fellini was born on January 20, 1920, in Rimini, Italy. Growing up he was interested in art, cartoons, and producing puppet shows. He unsuccessfully attempted to draw and sell caricatures to tourists in Rimini. When he was 18, Federico moved to Rome to study law, but dropped out shortly after and began to work for local newspapers instead. Through his work as a reporter, he met and worked with performers, scriptwriters, directors, and producers of film, television and stage. These connections gave Federico the opportunity to begin writing screenplays and work with Cinecittà (a large film studio in Rome).

La-Dolce-VitaAfter World War II, Federico began to work with Roberto Rossellini and the Italian Neorealism movement. The two collaborated on Rome, Open City, which earned Federico an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. After becoming a successful screenwriter, he made the jump to directing and released his first film, Variety Lights, in 1950. Four years later, he released his first international hit, La Strada. The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film as well as accolades from the Venice Film Festival. In 1957, Federico released Nights of Cabiria and took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film once again. His next two films were also critical and box office successes: La Dolce Vita and . During his 40-year career, Federico would direct 24 films.

During his early screenwriting days, Federico met actress Giulietta Masina. The two married in 1943 and had one son. They were also frequent collaborators, and Federico often called his wife his muse. He died on October 31, 1993. Federico’s style of film production has left a lasting impression on many filmmakers including Tim Burton, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, and Wes Anderson. His films continue to be ranked on “Top Films of All Time” lists, and his contribution to filmmaking will continue to be felt for generations to come.

Sources: Senses of Cinema, Biography, TCM, Federico Fellini Foundation

This week’s #ItalianoftheWeek was suggested by fan Vicki I.
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