Oscar Directors: Fellini, Federico–Auteur, Visionary Artist

Research in Progress (April 9, 2021)

Italian Federico Fellini, a master of world cinema, began his career as a member (both as a writer and director) of the neo-realist movement.

But later on, his vision became more comic, surrealist, and fantastical.

He was a director that thought visually, who believed that films are made and created  by the artist. As a result, some of his tales begin with sketches, rather than words, and their overall pattern is revealed as the movie unfolds, or progresses (and regresses).

He viewed cinema as a place to create magic, a way of interpreting and remaking reality, rather than trying to reflect it as is.

To that extent, he applied his remarkable  fantasy and visual imagination.

The use of the studio is an indispensable part of what filmmakers are doing.

Fellini was a romantic, and so were many of his characters who expressed themselves through fantasies and dreams. They often seek human warmth from the wrong people, or search for their identities in the wrong times and places.

Over the last decade of his career, he was prone to the depiction, glorifying and even poeticization of the grotesque.

Consider the circus-like gaiety of Nino Rota’s musical scores and soundtracks, elevating the films to another realm.

He often collaborated with the same artists (production designer) and actors, especially Marcello Mastroianni, who served as his alter-ego.

Fellini had never won a competitive merit directorial Oscar, despite four nominations: “La Dolce Vita,” in 1961, “81/2” in 1963, “Satyricon” in 1970, and “Amarcord” in 1975.

Fellini was older (41) than his American peers at his first nomination. Moreover, like other foreign directors, he had not been nominated for his earlier masterworks, “La Strada” and “Nights of Cabiria,” though both films had won the Best Foreign-Language Picture Oscar in 1956 and 1957, respectively.

Fellini received an Honorary Oscar in 1993, which was basically a compensatory gesture; he died several months later.