FEDERICO FELLINI (1959)
Fellini, even if he started his career with the great masters of neorealism, as Rossellini, for whom he worked as assistant director in the film “Roma Open City”, he soon abandoned the neorealist positions and themes, and for this reason, he was often criticized by the directors and critics of his period. The reasons that led Fellini to abandon neorealism can be summarized below:
1) EXCESSIVE MORAL POSITIONS
2) LACK OF CINEMATOGRAPHIC TECHNIQUES
3) “OLD” THEMES
But what mostly induces Fellini to change style, is his need to replace the flat documentation of reality with the representation of imagination and personal vision of things.
The reality as it is given is not, for Fellini, art.
For Fellini true art is the one that allows subjective expression, it is the one that allows to investigate those dimensions of life that are not visible.
For this reason, Fellini refuses the simple documentation of reality, believing instead that cinema can give life to the dimensions of the unconscious.
These are the real reasons for his abandonment of neorealism.
The themes dealt with in his cinema are different, but they are all linked by the expression of the dreamlike and psychological dimension of the narrator and his characters.
MASKS AND FACES: THE FELLINIAN CHARACTER
Compared to the neo-realist character, which represents the type of man generated by his social-historical environment and his position in the environment in which he lives, the Fellini character is at once unique but multiple, therefore difficult to be typed.
He is a Pirandellian mask, created by external factors (society) and by unconscious aspiration (influence of Jung and psychoanalysis in Fellini’s cinema).
The theme of his films is, therefore, the unmasking, not only of the characters but also of the societies and their rituals. This unmasking, which should expose the true essence of things, never, however, reaches a real knowledge of things: this happens both for the refusal of the characters to be unmasked (since this would make them weak, since the mask serves to face social rituals), both because reality is replaced in Fellini’s cinema by the author’s own imagination.
FANTASY AND THE PERSONAL VISION against THE ALLEGED REPRESENTATION OF REALITY
it is a fantasy that, however, materializes thanks to the magic of cinema, becoming more real than reality itself. It is a fantasy and it also serves to endure a too tragic reality. So fantasy is nothing but a less tragic reality than reality itself. Fellini, through his materialization of fantasy, suggests a central theme of post-modern sociological theories: THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
THE GREAT HUMAN CIRCUS
in this social construction of reality, dreams and nightmares, angels and monsters find space. The post-modern society is represented as a great circus, where often, behind the mask of the clown, man’s despair is hidden.
And just as in a circus men perform their show, but once the lights of the show are extinguished, they remain alone with themselves.
THE DESCRIPTION OF A MODERNITY THAT CAN NOT BE STOPPED AND THAT ADVANCE DESTROYING THE PAST
that of Fellini, however, is not a critical position but a simple description of what is happening in the post-war Western society. His position is simple: the show (of life) goes on, with its new myths and gods, and those who try to stay nostalgically back are destined to disappear
THE SWEET LIFE
Rome is the true protagonist of the film La dolce vita … Rome is the place that symbolically represents the glory of the Western society of the past, but it must give way to postmodernity, therefore to new lifestyles, to a new conception of the world and of life. Marcello the protagonist of this film becomes the guide that shows the many nuances of this change