Posted by: Ian Briggs on 2nd May 2012 at 10:55 pm
I have been doing some reading on Federico Fellini’s films tonight and wanted to share some interesting links that I have found.
First up is Strictly Film School which gives a few reviews including some interesting points made on La Strada, which I saw recently for the first time at Screen St Ives. The religious metaphors are common themes in the Fellini films I have seen, and this post points out some of the more subtle points to pick up on in the imagery portrayed. This story provides an extended essay on Fellini’s religious beliefs which will take some time to read fully, but it is clear that some of his early experiences with the church had a profound effect on his life and is therefore prominent in many of his films.
One thing I have thought about Fellini’s work in the past is backed up by this comprehensive analysis which says of the imagery used in his films:
…these spectacular images increasingly lacked artistic discipline as well as narrative connection.
This was evident, to a certain extent, in La Strada, where I often felt images were inserted to give an effect; I just wasn’t always sure what the effect was meant to be.
However, from what I understand, La Strada was not the worst offender in this respect. I have still to watch 8 1/2, but by all accounts this is Fellini’s most surreal work, with a storyline that is perhaps self-indulgent, and less constrained than some of his other works.
By far the most surreal of his films that I have seen is Amarcord. An interesting analysis is given here which states that:
…[the film] seemed to practically have no existing plot – I could never fully understand exactly what was going on.
This is something I definitely agree with – I remember having to watch bits of the film again as it just didn’t make sense; it seemed to flit between classic Italian romantic cinema scenes to slapstick ‘Carry On-style’ comedy.
This is also something that has been discussed in regard to La Strada, including in the post-film discussion at Screen St Ives, and while I don’t think it applies to that film, I felt Amarcord truly did wander through Fellini’s imagination. I don’t know how much of the film was improvised, but in an interview as part of Mark Cousins’ Story of Film, Claudia Cardinale makes the point that various scenes in 8 1/2 were improvised, and lines were made up by Fellini on-the-spot.
It is perhaps this kind of freedom and creativity which I have not yet got used to in Fellini’s work. Nights of Cabiria and La Dolce Vita are both excellent films and by far my favourites, but perhaps I need to try harder to understand his other films.
Thoughts and comments greatly appreciated below…