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If you were to ask who was the most famous Italian movie director who ever lived, many would likely answer that it's Federico Fellini. During his heyday in the 20th century, he put Italian cinema at the forefront, going so far as to rival even Hollywood. For a time, his movies resonated with global audiences, mostly because of his titillating narratives and provocative cinematography. In his time, he birthed a new attitude for the movies, one that remains influential and inspiring to most filmmakers today. And among his many works, these five are ones that you should simply see at least once in your life!
La Strada (1954)
Just how significant and historic Federico Fellini's 1954 film, 'La Strada,' really is? It was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1957. It was thanks to this black-and-white masterpiece that other films from around the world got to reach the global stage. The movie tells the story of Gelsomina, a simple-minded girl who is bought by Zampanò, a strongman. Together, they take to the road ('La Strada') and get into a whirlwind of an adventure. As for what Fellini himself thought of it, he said the film was 'a complete catalog of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever.'
Source: StudiocanalUK YouTube Channel
La Dolce Vita (1960)
All his life, no matter how many incredible movies he made, there was always that one film that most remember him for, the 1960 film, 'La Dolce Vita.' It was around this time that the prominent director started transforming Rome into 'his city,' wherein many of the Italian capital's districts and landmarks became associated with his films. Of course, the most iconic of them all is the Trevi Fountain, where a sexy Anita Ekberg invited Marcello Mastroianni to a dip in the fountain. It eventually became one of the most erotic scenes between two fully-dressed people in cinematic history.
Source: BFI YouTube Channel
Another iconic Fellini masterpiece was '8½' in 1963, a semi-autobiographical work. In this film, Marcello Mastroianni returns onscreen as Guido Anselmi, a film director who has trouble coming up with the script of his next work. As he ponders on, he remembers all the women in his life. His wife, Luisa (played by Anouk Aimée), his muse Claudia (played by Claudia Cardinale), his mistress Carla (played by Sandra Milo), and a prostitute named La Saraghina (played by Eddra Gale). His relationships with these women, and with womanhood in general, defines the type of man and director he has become.
Source: BFI YouTube Channel
Roma (1972 film)
Another semi-autobiographical film Fellini made was the 1972 dramedy, 'Roma.' Inspired by the city of Rome, the Italian capital itself played a major part in it. Though the film introduced countless characters with their own troubles, it was the city of Rome that had the most development throughout all 128 minutes. However, the story actually tells Fellini's own life, particularly when he moved from his native town, Rimini, to the Italian capital. In an Albert Hitchcock-like fashion, Fellini even appeared in the move himself.
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel
The City of Women (1980)
If you thought '8½' was the only woman-centric film Fellini made, you're sadly mistaken. 17 years later, he made 'City of Women.' Starring Marcello Mastroianni, as 'Snàporaz,' it tells the story of a man and his voyage in understanding women and their relationships with men. This became his most controversial work as it deconstructed politics at a time when women's liberation was in full swing. And while he put forth fascinating subjects and arguments, they weren't as well-received as '8½.' Because of the mixed response, 'City of Women' didn't become as well-known as his other works.
Source: Movie Coverage YouTube Channel
There's arguably no Italian director, both then and now, that has captivated the audiences quite like Federico Fellini. His works remain influential and are studied until now. And among them, these five are the ones any film-lover should watch at least once.
You can easily watch them in your own Italian luxury home if you want! Now that'd be great, right?