20 January 2016

Federico Fellini – film director

The cinematic legacy of Rimini’s most famous son

Federico Fellini, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century, was born on this day in Rimini in 1920.

Fellini was one of Italy's greatest film directors
Federico Fellini
He had a career lasting almost 50 years and his films were nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won four Oscars, each for Best Foreign Language Film, with La strada, Nights of Cabiria, 8½ and Amarcord.

Fellini went to Rome to study Law at University but ended up working as a journalist instead.

His assignments for a magazine gave him the opportunity to meet people involved in show business and he eventually got work as a script writer for films and radio.

Fellini worked as both a screenwriter and assistant director on Roberto Rossellini films as well as producing and directing for other filmmakers.

He began work on his first solo film, The White Sheik, in 1951. It received mixed reviews but in 1953 his film, I vitelloni, pleased both the public and the critics.

He won his first Academy Award with Nights of Cabiria, starring his wife, Giulietta Masini, in 1953.  Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a prostitute who searches in vain for true love.

Watch the scene in La dolce vita in which Anita Ekberg bathes in the Trevi Fountain

Fellini’s film La dolce vita, starring Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni and set in Rome, broke all box office records in 1960 and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival. It is one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time.

Amarcord was based on his own memories of growing up in Rimini and features a group of adolescents living in a provincial town in Italy in the 1930s.
Mastroianni starred in Fellini's iconic movie La Dolce Vita
Fellini's La Dolce Vita starred
Marcello Mastroianni

It was Fellini’s second biggest commercial success after La dolce vita and won him his fourth Oscar. 

In 1985 he received an award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale and he was also awarded an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1993.

Fellini died in Rome in October of the same year after suffering a stroke. At the request of his wife, “Improvviso dell’Angelo by Nino Rota, who had written the music for all of films, was played during his funeral.

The airport at Rimini has since been named the Federico Fellini airport in his honour.

Travel tip:

With wide sandy beaches, and plenty of hotels and restaurants, Rimini is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Europe, but it is also a historic town with many interesting things to see. The Tempio Maletestiano is a 13th century Gothic church,originally built for the Franciscans, that was transformed on the outside in the 15th century and decorated inside with frescoes by Piero della Francesca and works by Giotto and many other artists.

The Tempio Maletestiano houses works by Piero della Francesca and others
The Tempio Maletestiano in Rimini
Travel tip:

The Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs (Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri) where Fellini’s funeral was held, is inside the former baths of Diocletian in Piazza della Repubblica in Rome. It was built on the orders of Pope Pius IV in 1561 to be dedicated to all Christian martyrs, known and unknown. Michelangelo and Vanvitelli both contributed to the design of the church.


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