Fellini News Update #11

  • November 12, 2004

1) Six Degree's of Separation and Ray Bradbury

My enduring fascination with the works of Fellini has led me down many a literary and philosophical side road. Nothing can replace watching the films, but to fully appreciate Fellini, one must have encounters with the
likes of Dante, Petronius, Boccaccio, Jung, Poe, Kafka, and Flash Gordon to name a few. As a layman student, these side trips in search of Fellini have helped to fill some gaps in my formal education. After a while, a kind of Six Degrees of Separation becomes evident. There are so many connections.

For example, I recently discovered that Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors, is not only a great admirer of Fellini, but the two of them spent some time together in the '70's discussing, among other things, collaborating on a film version of The Martian Chronicles. Like other famous Fellini collaborations, this one didn't happen either, but Bradbury still evokes Fellini's name when addressing young writers. Bradbury recalls that, "It is with Fellini that I grew to understand the importance of others as teachers and mentors." On the subject of working intuitively and staying fresh as a writer, Bradbury said, "I live by the motto I learned from Federico Fellini: 'Don't tell me what I'm doing, I don't want to know." Fellini was referring to looking at a day's filming, or rushes, which he avoided claiming this kept his ideas fresh. (Attention all professors: Don't let it get around to your students but, neither Fellini or Bradbury spent much time, if any, in college.)

2) Fellini's influence on culture/Pop culture: A handful of links

My recent searches into obscure corners of the internet turned up a host of interesting appreciations, observations, celebrations and reports on Fellini and his work. Most are relatively new, others new to me. All offer fascinating insights into il Maestro and his continued influence on culture and pop culture. One that I found to be a timely discovery in these overtly political times is, Rota & Fellini, The War (An Analysis of Fellini's
Orchestra Rehearsal) There are some fascinating anecdotes about the making of that film. You can read it here.

At the Richard Basehart website you can read about his memories of working with Fellini on La Strada.

Don Young is in the news again for the usual reason. (Be forewarned, the writer did some embellishing of the facts.) Read all about it here.

Just prior to the Felliniana Conference in Seattle in 2003, Gianfranco Angellucci made an appearance at the Slovakian Art Film Festival. A seminar preceding a Fellini film retrospective featured Gianfranco and Gerald Morin
as guest panelists. Read the text here.

From Down Under, a report and comments on the Fellini Festival of Food and Film titled, Fellini'sVaudeville into the Archetypal Subconcious. Peter Bondanella was the featured speaker. You can read some of his provacative
comments here.

Read an in-depth paper on the Fellini/Dante connection from Mary A. Watt, University of Florida titled, The Homo Viator and the Road to Conversion here.

From the Southern Cross Review, Gaither Stewart poses the question: Is Fellini's art cinema, plastic art or symbolist poetry? Read his opinions here.

In his paper titled, Fellini: Insight, Articulation and Originality, Tao Ruspoli looks at 4 films and the discrepancy between the role of an artist as an individual and his role in the culture to which he belongs.

Read a long winded yet fascinating paper by Ethan Vincent titled, The Monomyth of Fellini's 8 1/2: The Journey of Guido Anselmi according to Parker Tyler and Joseph Campbell here.

Finally, the new issue of AMARCORD, from the Federico Fellini Foundation in Italy has just been published. Printed in Italian and English, it's the most illuminating resource I have found on Fellini's work. Buy the magazine from
<Cineaste.com> in the USA. You can scan the website here.

3) Odds & Ends & Trifles

According to the New York Times, SparkNotes, a Cliff Notes-type website of Barnes and Noble, recently added a "FILM" category to their math and literary study guides. From Annie Hall to Vertigo to Fellini's 8 1/2, you can skip the movie and get all the facts. But who would want to?!? Check out the website and see how you score on the 8 1/2 quiz.

Looking for a Christmas gift for the Fellini-o-phile on your list? How about a Federico Fellini Platinum Edition fountain pen? If money is no object, please remember me when shopping.

In one of his rare political statements, Fellini was one of 25 signees on, An Open Letter to Fidel Castro,1989, requesting that Castro address issues of exiles, political prisoners and human rights. Read the letter here:

The October issue of GQ (USA) has an article titled, All in the Famiglia, on the influence of Fellini, Mastroianni and Pasolini on men's fashion. You can also read about Fashion and Fellini at the GQ Italia website.

I recently made contact with Peter Goldfarb, the producer of, Fellini: A Director's Notebook, for NBC TV in 1969 as part of the networks Experiment in Television series. I will be speaking to him by telephone soon to get his recollections of that event. If anyone has a question for him, please let me know.

The film retrospective known as, Tutto Fellini, has been touring the globe since it's first showing in New York in 1993. It has played nearly all the capitals of the world including recently in London and also in and many unexpected places like Haifa, Israel??? That's right. Hebrew subtitles and all. From all reports it was a big success. Another testament to the global reach of Fellini. Who knows, with any luck maybe Texas will be next.

4) Archive acquisitions

The Don Young Felliniana Archive recently acquired the 30 year collection of "clippings" form Hollywood author and advertising writer, Ernest Cunningham. The collection consists of hundreds of original magazine and newspaper clippings and other rare memorabilia covering Fellini's entire career. Virtually everthing published about Fellini and/or his fims from the past 40+ years, including every New York Times review and commentary as well as reviews, reports and photographs from many obscure journals, foreign and domestic. All are in pristine condition. Mr. Cunningham worked for many years in the top movie ad agency in the country writing the headline copy for new movies. He is most famous for writing the immortal words, "Hell Upside Down" for The Poseiden Adventure.  He is also the author of the best selling book, The Ultimate Marilyn. This new acquisition, joins over 4000 other items in the Felliniana archive of rare books, magazines, posters and other memorabilia.