Federico Fellini: the top 10 of his best films

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Almost thirty years after his death, we want to dedicate a top 10 of the best films to director Federico Fellini

Originally from Rimini, he has become one of the reference points of cinema both at home and abroad. Federico Fellini in his youth attended university to become journalist and in the meantime he attracted the attention of numerous publishers with his caricatures and cartoons. Several of his articles were used in a radio series about a newlywed couple entitled “Cico and Pallina”. Pallina was played by the acting student Giulietta Masina, who married Fellini on 30 October 1943 and remained close to the director until his death in 1993. The young Fellini loved the vaudeville theater genre and became a friend in 1940 of the great comedian Aldo Fabrizi, with whom he collaborated on Roma Città Aperta, one of the his iconic films. However, the film was crucial in his career Peasant (1946) edited in collaboration with Rossellini: the then 26-year-old director four years later made his directorial debut in collaboration with Alberto Lattuada in the troubled Luci del varie (1950), thus starting an exceptional career.

10. The White Sheik | The best films of Federico Fellini

Two newlyweds, Ivan and Wanda, come to Rome from their country to spend their honeymoon. Above all, he is counting on making a good impression on his uncle who lives in the city, thanks to whose influence he hopes to make a career and for this purpose he has organized a series of visits, including a papal audience, together with his uncle’s family. Wanda, however, without her husband’s knowledge, he hopes that in Rome he will finally be able to realize his dream: getting to know the hero of his favorite photo novel, the White Sheik. Having arrived from the town in the morning and settled into the hotel, Wanda, on the pretext of taking a bath, secretly goes away towards the production company of the photo novel, thus starting an urban adventure.

9. The calves | The best films of Federico Fellini

The film it focuses on the events of a group of five young people: the intellectual Leopoldo, the womanizer Fausto, the mature Moraldo, the childish Alberto and the incurable player Riccardo. These people, bored with provincial life and allergic to any form of responsibility and all without work, they indulge in idleness and gambling at the expense of their parents. The character of Riccardo is played by Riccardo Fellini, brother of the director, while the voice of Fausto, played by Franco Fabrizi, is dubbed by Nino Manfredi.

8. The road | The best films of Federico Fellini

Gelsomina is a fragile and presumably mildly mentally disabled girl who lives in extreme poverty with her widowed mother and her younger brothers. One day Zampanò arrives in the village, a rough acrobat who, to earn a living, takes his unlikely shows around the poorest lands of a nation, Italy, still peasant and naive. The man had already taken with him Rosa, Gelsomina’s sister who however had died suddenly; at the man’s request, her mother also sells her second daughter to earn a small sum of money. Gelsomina thus follows Zampanò, who teaches her to play the trumpet and makes her participate as an auctioneer in her shows. The film won an Oscar for best foreign film and it was partly filmed in the famous Circo Saltanòwith actors and extras taken from this circus.

7. The nights of Cabiria | The best films of Federico Fellini

Maria Ceccarelli is a prostitute from Acilia who calls herself Cabiria and lives near Via Ostiense. One day, while she is walking with Giorgio, the one who considers her to be her partner, he throws her into the river to steal her purse. Barely saved, Cabiria returns home, still in disbelief about what happened. Here, one of her colleagues, Wanda, opens her eyes to the nature of her relationship, leading her to destroy all of the man’s things that she keeps at home. Cabiria accidentally meets the actor Alberto Lazzari, who has just been dumped by his girlfriend. Alberto, as revenge against the woman, makes Cabiria get into her convertible, and takes her first to a nightclub, then to her house. The film won an Oscar for best foreign film but in Italy it was censored for about seven minutes.

6. La dolce vita | The best films of Federico Fellini

Marcello Rubini is a journalist specialized in social news, but cultivates the ambition of becoming a novelist. The film follows him through a series of episodes that offer a representation of various aspects of the unruly life of the city’s jet-set, with its rituals, its neuroses and its dramas. One of the most famous films in the history of cinema. The scene of Trevi Fountain with Ekberg and Mastroianni it became a symbolic scene of 20th century cinema. The name of one of the characters in the film, paparazzogave rise to the common name for tabloid photographers.

5. 8½ | The best films of Federico Fellini

Guido Anselmi, an established director and is working on his next film. He finds himself spending a rest period in a spa treatment station. In that location, Guido tries to combine his physical problems (heart fatigue) with those of the film’s production, which is still in its preparation stage. The quiet he would like is continually undermined by the presence of the film’s crew who stay in his hotel and who see him as his only sure support. The film is one of Fellini’s masterpieces and won two Oscars for Best Foreign Film and Best Costume Design (Piero Gherardi).

4. Federico Fellini’s Casanova | The best films of Federico Fellini

In Venice, in the presence of the Doge, the opening of the carnival is celebrated with the flight of the angel and the attempt to make a gigantic effigy of the head of the goddess Luna emerge from the Grand Canal. The operation fails with the bust falling into the water, a bad omen. Outside of the carnival celebration, Giacomo Casanova receives a letter with an invitation from Sister Maddalena to go to the villa of the French ambassador in Venice within which the two lovers perform a sort of ritual dance characterized by a fairly complex choreography up to the actual intercourse, very similar to a gymnastic exercise. For the leading role that went to Donald Sutherland, Fellini considered Michael Caine, Michel Piccoli, Jack Nicholson and Gian Maria Volonté.

3. The city of women | The best films of Federico Fellini

Marcello Snàporaz is a mature and reckless man who, during a train journey, has a fleeting flirtation with a mysterious lady, who he decides to follow, getting off at an unreal station in the middle of the countryside. Following the stranger, Marcello finds himself in a hotel, in the midst of a tumultuous congress of feminists who speak in pre-packaged slogans and formulas, proceed on tired themes and obvious claims which, however, the protagonist is unable to understand. The hostile attitude of the bystanders forces the protagonist to make a hasty escape and, aided by one of the feminists present and an attendant, he manages to leave the hotel. At the time of its release the film aroused great controversy in the press and strong criticism from the feminist movements that were involved in the filming of the film. The character Marcello Snàporaz di Matroianni appears in the comic “Viaggio a Tulum” by Milo Manara.

2. Rome | The best films of Federico Fellini

The film is a lively and visionary portrait of Rome, through the memories of a young provincial who arrives at Termini station shortly before the Second World War. Rome as a composite, inexhaustible and contradictory reality, here represented through a series of paintings and heterogeneous characters, from the fashion show of ecclesiastical clothes to the reconstruction of brothels, from clashes with the police to night-time traffic jams on the Grande Raccordo Anulare. While the style shifts from lyricism to satire, from nostalgia to truculence seamlessly, the film features the protagonist Roberto Benigni whose character recalls how his grandmother called him Pinocchio, a character that Benigni would later play in the 2002 film of the same name.

1. Amarcord | The best films of Federico Fellini

The story narrates the life that takes place in the ancient village of Rimini from one spring to the next, in the early Thirties. A year’s extract of history, where we witness the myths, values ​​and everyday life of that time through the inhabitants of the provincial town: the provocative hairdresser Gradisca, the nymphomaniac Volpina, a curvy tobacconist, a pompous lawyer with easy rhetoric, an emir with thirty concubines, the crazy Judgment and an exhibitionist motorcyclist. All of them interact with the folklore of the village festivals, the fascist Saturday gatherings, they wait in the moonlight for the passage of the transatlantic Rex and the famous Mille Miglia car race.


We close our roundup of the best films by Federico Fellini by remembering him as a multifaceted author but also a Big fan of Stan Lee and Marvel Comics, and comics in general and friend of Milo Manara. He was voted the tenth greatest director of all time by Entertainment Weekly. His hometown, Rimini, named the Federico Fellini international airport in his honor. A name engraved in the history of cinema.

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