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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Fellini, Federico (1920-1993)
"Like many people, I have no religion, and I am just sitting in a small boat drifting with the tide. I live in the doubts of my duty.... I think there is dignity in this, just to go on working.... Today we stand naked, defenseless, and more alone than at any time in history. We are waiting for something, perhaps another miracle, perhaps the Martians. Who knows?"

-- Federico Fellini


Federico Fellini was one of the most influential and widely revered Italian film-makers of the 20th century and is considered to be one of the finest film directors of all time. Fellini's films typically combine memory, dreams, fantasy, and desire.

Born in and raised in Rimini, his childhood experiences would later play an important part in many of his films. Fellini's first solo-directed film was Lo Sceicco Bianco (1951), with Alberto Sordi, written by Michelangelo Antonioni and Ennio Flaiano. In making this movie Fellini met Nino Rota, the musician who would follow him for the successful remainder of his career.

In addition to making films, he also wrote scripts for radio shows, for movies (mainly for Rossellini) and wrote comic gags for well known actors like Aldo Fabrizi. Fellini also produced several drawings (mostly pencil on paper), often humorous portraits. It is with these works that young Fellini encountered cinema: his first success was in drawing advertising pictures for movies.

During Mussolini's Fascist regime, he was an Avanguardista, and his first writings were for Alleanza Cinematografica Italiana (ACI), the production company of Vittorio Mussolini, son of Benito, who introduced him to Roberto Rossellini, husband of Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman.

In 1944, after Mussolini's downfall, Fellini opened a shop in Rome in which he sold his drawings. The shop was named (in English) "The Funny Face Shop", and contained works from Fellini and De Seta, Verdini, Camerini, Scarpelli, Majorana, Guasta, Giobbe, Attalo, Migneco (all writers, directors or otherwise intellectuals working for Italian cinema). A major inspiration for Fellini was Goethe, the author of Faust. In the same year he started his contribution to Rossellini's Roma città aperta, starring Aldo Fabrizi. Fellini also took part in writing another of Rossellini's movies, Paisà. He wrote also for other directors such as Alberto Lattuada, Pietro Germi, and Luigi Comencini.

Fellini's wife, actress Giulietta Masina (married in 1943) was often in his movies. Other actors with whom Fellini frequently worked include Marcello Mastroianni, Alberto Sordi, and Anita Ekberg.

In 1945 Fellini had a son who survived for only 2 weeks; he was the only son of Fellini and Giulietta Masina. In 1948 Fellini acted in Rossellini's Il Miracolo. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s his films were widely acclaimed, but he was never awarded an Oscar for directing.

In 1991 Fellini's text "Trip to Tulum" was translated into English by Stefano Gaudiano and published in a graphic form in the magazine Crisis with artwork by Milo Manara. In 1993 he received an Academy Award ("Oscar") for his lifetime achievement. That same year, he died in Rome at the age of 73.

The Federico Fellini International Airport in Rimini, is named in his honor.

 
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