Fellini News Update #14

  • April 24, 2005

1) DVD Alert!

At long last, Boccaccio 70, the rarely seen 1962 omnibus film featuring episodes by 4 of the most renowned Italian directors of the 60’s is now available on DVD in the U.S. with English subtitles. Fellini’s contribution, The Temptation of Dr. Antonio, is one of his most “Fellini-esque” works, bringing together such disparate elements as a 50 foot tall Anita Ekberg in all her glory, a troop of Boy Scouts, a flurry of nuns and a real live Cupid. Those who have watched with a mixture of curiosity and alarm the moral ambiguities of certain members of the Bush administration will get a kick out of the title character, played by Peppino de Filippo.

Released by NoShame Films, an exciting new company that plans to focus on neglected Italian films, Boccaccio 70 is presented in a widescreen digital anamorphic transfer and has tons of “extras”. Read more here.

Intervista, Fellini’s mock-doc, co-written by Gianfranco Angelucci, gets a proper DVD treatment with a new release by Koch-Lorber Films, the same company that brought La Dolce Vita to DVD last year and hints at other Fellini surprises in the future. Their version has 5.1 Surround Sound and enhanced in16x9 widescreen. Bonus materials include the trailer, a special documentary by Vincenzo Mollica, on the set photo gallery, etc. A great improvement over the previously available DVD. Read all the details here.

Both films available at DVD Planet.

2) Book News and Reviews

In what I think is a first for a Fellini book, Peter Bondanella’s 2002 book, The Films of Federico Fellini, covering 5 Fellini films is now available as an “E-book”. His essay on 8 1/2 is a tour de force. You can purchase and download the entire book at Amazon.

Or Powells Bookstore.

I recently discovered a wonderful essay on Fellini by the Australian culture critic and TV personality, Clive James. The essay, Mondo Fellini, written for the New Yorker, 5/21/93, and now available in a collection titled, As of This Writing, is highly recommended. You can read a review here.

An interesting take on Fellini’s, Ginger and Fred, by Italian writer, Umberto Eco, titled, Phantom of Neo-TV, is available in his collection, Apocalypse Postponed, 1994. He writes of the three levels of Fellini’s imagination and ties that in with his own views of television. This one slipped by me at the time of publication and is worth looking up.

I recently discovered on film critic Roger Ebert’s website, a fascinating selection of capsuled reviews by him and several other famous reviewers from the 60’s and 90’s, including Peter Bogdonavich and the always fun, Pauline Kael. Great fun. Read about it here.

3) Music News and Reviews

This definitely falls under the heading, “Trivialities”, but nonetheless, when Bette Midler got married to her latest hubby in Las Vegas a few years ago she chose the soundtrack to, Juliet of the Spirits, for her wedding music. She also claims the music is ideal for cleaning the house to. Read more than you’ll ever want to know here.

Another recent discovery is a great site for music reviews: MrLucky.com. Where else can one read a fresh review of the 1961 soundtrack to La Dolce Vita and 1965’s Juliet of the Spirits? Read about that and much more here.

4) Seattle Conference News

In a sign that hell is about to freeze over, the long awaited filmed documentary of the 2003 Fellini International Academic Conference in Seattle is nearing release on DVD. Film maker, Eric Burritt, now has a website to advertise and promote the upcoming film titled, Fellini: Ungrateful Celebration. Read up on what Eric and company have been up to here.

5) Student Essay of the Month

It’s always fun reading what students come up with when writing essays on Fellini. My most recent discovery is titled, The Dubious Skill of Remembering: Fellini’s Amarcord and Art Cinema. Unfortunately, I have not been able to identify the author who remains unknown, but you can read the thought-provoking essay here.

6) Fellini Onstage

In 2001, an organization that calls itself, The Ministry of Cultural Warfare, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, produced a play for the Minnesota Fringe Festival entitled, Into the Acid Fountain: The Federico Fellini Variety Hour. Written by Matthew Foster, the play is both a parody of and homage to La Dolce Vita, with Marcello as a gay art school drop out and featuring some very weird cabaret acts. Need I write more? Read all about this hilarious sacrilege.

7) Odds and Ends

Italian gate manufacturer, FAAC has been producing promotional “art calendars” since 1999. For their 40th anniversary in 2005 and in association with Federico Fellini Fondazione in Italy, they have issued, “Fellini’s Muses”, a gorgeous calendar of Fellini erotica. See images and read all about it here.

Vita Digital Productions has produced a exercise fitness, treadmill video they call, La Dolce Vita, a virtual walk through the Eternal City in moving pictures. Along the way you pass Fellini haunts such as Harry’s Bar along the Via Veneto, Trevi’s Fountain and all the usual sights. “For the person who as everything”. Check it out here.

8) Felliniana Archive News

The Don Young Felliniana Archive website will up and running soon. The complete archive, organized by film title, will eventually be available online. Articles and essays from rare magazine, newspapers, books and other material spanning 50 years will be available for sale in digital or hard copy format. I will announce the opening of the website via email ASAP.