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Rome fetes Fellini in anniversary show

Exhibit traces the film director's extraordinary career

29 November, 17:53
Rome fetes Fellini in anniversary show

(by Romina Spina).

(ANSA) - Rome - Fifty years after the release of "La Dolce Vita", widely considered one of the masterpieces of world cinema, and ninety years after Federico Fellini's birth, Rome is paying homage to the critically acclaimed film director in a new exhibition.

The anniversary show, on display at Macro Testaccio, features a vast body of photographs, videos, film reels, drawings, letters and notes illustrating Fellini's extraordinary career as an artist and filmmaker, from his debut as a cartoonist and screenwriter in the early 1940s to his death in 1993, shortly after winning his fifth Academy Award.

Aptly called "Fellini Labyrinth", the exhibition takes visitors on a journey to explore the influential director's work mainly through a blend of stills and movie footage.

Divided into two different sections, the show is constructed as a visual laboratory containing the raw material of Fellini's creative process, with references to the filmmaker's passions and obsessions that inspired the hallucinatory, circus-like depictions of modern life in his movies.

The first part of the exhibition, "The Great Parade", focuses on the evocative power of images by displaying over 300 items taken from Fellini's film and set work, including photographs and movie footage showing actress Anita Ekberg in what became an iconic scene of "La Dolce Vita", her walk in the Trevi Fountain.

The show's second part, "Installations", recalls some of Fellini's most renowned movies and is made of video projections, original costumes, light installations, film set items and designs recreated by the maestro's long-time collaborators and Academy Award winners Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo. "Fellini's work, full of cross-references, characters, locations and situations that reoccur from movie to movie, can be read as a labyrinth", said show curator Gianluca Farinelli. "This exhibition tries to suggest interpretations, offering clues and emotions throughout a complex journey, where visitors can lose themselves and find their own Federico." The paths to discovery lead through Fellini's most successful movies, such as "La Strada", "The Nights of Cabiria","8 ½" and "Amarcord", all of which won him an Academy Award for best foreign film.

On the exhibition's opening day, American film director Martin Scorsese presented a digitally restored version of "La Dolce Vita" at the International Rome Film Festival.

"Fellini brought something new to Italian cinema and with 'La Dolce Vita' he conquered the universe", Scorsese said in a statement.

"La Dolce Vita" starred Marcello Mastroianni and Ekberg in a story about a gossip journalist, Marcello, and his week in Rome, where he wanders through the city's sophisticated and decadent world in search of himself.

Whilst hailed as one of the great achievements in film history, Fellini's movie also drew stark criticism from the Catholic Church following its release in 1960.

The Vatican condemned "La Dolce Vita" for being decadent and blasphemous, causing the film to be banned in Catholic Spain until the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.

Fellini's free spirit and visionary outlook enabled him to pursue his career regardless of schools or trends.

Some of the most important names in contemporary cinema, including Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Lynch and Spanish director Pedro Almodovar have cited Fellini's work as a big influence on their own filmmaking.

"Fellini Labyrinth" is on show until January 30th.

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