Fellini News Update #22

  • July 22, 2013

1) Criterion Current:

The Criterion Collection website publishes a series of film essays, news, interviews and photo/video galleries about film. They call it, Current. They recently published a photo-gallery titled, Around the World with 8 1/2, in honor of the films worldwide release 50 years ago.

The gallery features 14 select poster and other memorabilia images from the Felliniana Archive, including the newest acquisition to the collection, an original Polish poster for 8 1/2. Many more images from that film can be viewed at the Felliniana website.

2) Felliniana Website Upgrade

The Felliniana Archive website has been upgraded with a sleek and simplified new look that's easier to navigate. It includes many more images from the collection and all previous issues of Fellini News Update dating back to 2003.

You can also watch a video from 2006 of a Felliniana Archive exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas that shows hundreds of rare posters from the collection set to music by Nino Rota.

Thanks to Mr. Tony Bradshaw for getting the website ship-shape.

3) Saraghina & Her Rhumba

July 16 was the birthdate of actress, Eddra Gale, who played the role of Saraghina in Fellini's 8 1/2. Her silly-sexy rhumba dance on the beach in that classic film is itself a classic moment in cinema. Read more about the Chicago native and former opera singer in Fellini New Update #18.

I recently learned that Saraghina's Rhumba was not composed by Nino Rota but adapted and reinvented by him from a 1931 tune by Walter G. Samuels and Leonard Whitcup titled, Fiesta (aka: Bianca). Recorded music was often played on a Fellini film set during rehearsals to set a mood. Most likely, Rota heard the song and adapted adapted it for the Saraghina dance sequence.

Here's a crazy Roaring Twenties version in German by the Paul Godwin Tanz Orchestra:

...and a more Rota-esque 1931 version by the Otto Dobrindt Tanzorchester:

Here's a red-hot version of the song performed by the German group, 17 Hippies in 2005 that will make you want to dance:

Illustration by Laura Hines, 2011

4) Orchestra Nostalgico is Back!

The ultimate Nino Rota tribute band is recording a new CD of Fellini-Rota and other film music. The San Francisco based ensemble, Orchestra Nostalgico's second album of Fellini-Rota music is due out this Fall and features newly arranged tunes from Amarcord, Juliet of the Spirits, Casanova and a much anticipated version of Saraghina's Rhumba from 8 1/2. Stay tuned.

5) 50 Years of Influence

The 50th anniversary of 8 1/2 has produced a crop of news articles, reviews and tributes honoring and extolling the films influence.

Here's a sampling:

6) Going to Amsterdam?

If you are, stop by Fellini: The Exhibition. Photographs; Posters; Films; Talks; Events. June 30 - September 22 at EYE, the national film institute of the Netherlands.

7) FF & Academia

Fellini took an anti-intellectual approach to his films but academicians swarm like flies to unravel his cinematic riddles. Fellini: Disorderly and Passionate Genius of Italian Cinema is name of a conference being organized by the Department of Language Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga. The takes place, October 17 - 19. There is a very interesting list of subjects in their call for papers. Read about it here.

8) Rare FF Photos

I thought I had seen just about every photo taken of Fellini until I ran across this oddly named website. There are 22 pages of candid press and set photos from every phase in FF's career. Even seasoned Fellini-o-philes will be surprised. Check it out here.

9) Rare FF Video:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences website has posted silky black and white video footage from the 36th Academy Awards in 1964 of Fellini accepting the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for 8 1/2. Jack Lemmon hosts and Julie Andrews presents the nominees. 2:40 TT. Very nice.

10) Girls Do Film Do FF

Girls Do Film is a website devoted to costume, character, identity and fashion in film. Check out their recent post titled: Marcello Mastroianni, La Dolce Vita and the Latin Lover.

11) Fellini Dream Book Video

The Independent Film Channel (IFC) has posted a bizarre video promoting Fellini's, Book of Dreams. Guest host, Jesse Thorn, of NPR, hams it up discussing Fellini's flirtation with Jungian therapy. It's a 1:40 hoot featuring scenes from 8 1/2.

Illustration by Federico Fellini from, Book of Dreams

12) Going to Rimini?

Fellinianno 2013 is a year-long tribute to the Maestro in his hometown of Rimini, Italia. The event has everything-Fellini including the beautiful beach and resort on the Adriatic Sea and the Grand Hotel made famous in the autobiographical film, Amarcord.

In other Rimini news, the New York Times recently published a delightful article in their Travel section titled, In Rimini, Looking for Fellini's World, by Evan Rail. Check out what a Rimini native confessed to Rail, "For Rimini, Fellini is more of a problem than a resource. We don't know how to do something that is worthy of this great character." (It's important to note that Fellini had ambivalent feelings towards his hometown.)

Photo by Francesco Lastrucci for The New York Times

13) Fellini at Work

An exhibition of 40 vintage prints from the personal archive of the late Roman photographer to the stars, Tazio Secchiaroli. Through August 31 at Galleria Photology in Milano.

14) Going to Bangkok?

The Italian Festival in Thailand 2013 is another year-long celebration of all things Italian. In honor of the 20th anniversary of Fellini's death, they screened Fellini classics, La Strada and Nights of Cabiria. This is apparently an annual cultural exchange event in Thailand.

15) Fellinian Book Shelf

There are two forthcoming books you may want to check out.

Federico Fellini: Painting in Film, Painting on Film, by Hava Aldouby. The book "sheds light on the intertextual links between Fellini films and the works of various artists from, Velasquez to Francis Bacon, by identifying references to specific paintings in his films." Published on December 31 by University of Toronto Press.

The Journey of G. Mastorna: The Film Fellini Didn't Make, edited by Marcus Perryman. This is the first publication of the script for Fellini's notoriously abandoned film project from 1965/6. In addition to the script there are tw essays by Perryman. Published in August by Berghahn Books.