cover of book

by Sam Stourdzé
edited by Marente Bloemheuvel and Jaap Guldemond
Amsterdam University Press, 2014
eISBN: 978-90-485-2191-3 | Paper: 978-90-8964-582-1

Over the course of his illustrious forty-year career, the Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini (1920-1993) created a cinematic universe that continues to enthrall film aficionados and influence other directors. From the bellowing strongman in La Strada (1954) to the anguished society reporter in La Dolce Vita (1960) and the tyrannical whip-wielding director in (1963), the inhabitants of this universe have risen to the level of archetype. Their creator, though, looms even larger in the cinematic imagination. This lushly illustrated volume harnesses the power of images to evoke the physical and imaginative worlds that he inhabited.

Fellini traces the director’s sources, themes, and obsessions through movie stills, drawings, posters, photos, and other archival material. Many of the images show him on set, working behind the camera or collaborating with actors, costume designers, and others. One group of previously unpublished behind-the-scenes photos offers a new perspective on the fantasy world of Cinecittà, the studio where Fellini made many of his films. Another notable set of images presents the director’s “Book of Dreams,” in which he recorded his dreams in words and drawings.

Illuminating Fellini’s unique take on twentieth-century culture and mass media, these striking documents combine to reveal the essential power of his work. Twenty years after Fellini’s death, Fellini adds a new dimension to our understanding of a visual and thematic universe that had a profound impact on the development of film as an art form—and on the imaginations of so many viewers.

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