Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini Federico Fellini was born on January 20, 1920 in Rimini (small Italian seaside resort). Weak child, young Federico finds refuge in his wild imagination. He loves the circus and the cinema : he admires the Marx brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin but also the acrobat dwarves and the clowns… His assiduous frequentation of the cinema does nothing but grow and in parallel, he starts to expose his drawings. At the age of 18, he settles in Rome and immediately falls in love with the city. His meeting with Roberto Rossellini was decisive : director with a good reputation yet, he entrusts to Federico the scenario writing of Rome, open city in 1945. Great critical and commercial success, their collaboration will continue on other films, and sometimes, as he is sick, Roberto Rossellini will entrust even the camera to Federico Fellini for certain plans.

I didn't choose to become director : it's the cinema that chose me.” Fellini will then starts directing by his own, and it will be the beginning of a long and prestigious career, that will end after 24 films, 5 oscars and a palme d'or on the 31st of october 1993.

He has signed big classics such as La dolce vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963), Satyricon (1969), Roma (1972), Amarcord (1973), Intervista (1987)…

Federico Fellini in Emir Kusturica's films

Emir Kusturica is often quoted as the Fellini of the Balkans. We'll see the comparison is fair for several reasons.

In her excellent book on Emir Kusturica, Dina Iordanova recalls a sentence of Emir Kusturica in 1999 : ”I'm proud of having discovered how Fellini made his films, and using the same little tricks, like a magician who sees a circus, and then goes in another to work. There are three specific features : first, the excitement that comes from every character, second, the incredible architecture of the scenes, third, the dominant Mediterranean paganistic vision of life.


Emir Kusturica has often quoted Amarcord as being the major inspiring work for his film Time of the Gypsies. He is said to be screening the film continuously in his caravan before arriving on the set. We can see obvious visual references, like, for example :

  • First, the sense of the frame, the complexity of the scenes with simultaneous action in the background and the foreground.
  • family eating scenes, Weddings, great banquets in nature.
  • an lunatic narrator facing the camera at the opening of the film.
  • the Film inside the film scenes where young Federico dares to approach the girl next to him during the film.
  • accordion.
  • and even a turkey hypnosis scene !

Beyond this film, the references to Amarcord can be found also in other Emir Kusturica's films such as :

About Amarcord, Emir says that he tried eight times to watch it, when he was student at the FAMU, but each time he fell asleep after fifteen minutes. The ninth time, he was captivated, and since then, this film didn't cease to haunt him. It's certainly the film that has the most influence on his work.

Other films of Fellini

The influence of Fellini on Kusturica's work is also wider : we can find homages to many other films of the Italian maestro :

  • using the roman ruins : Roma / Time of the Gypsies
  • kids running after the car : La Strada / Time of the Gypsies
  • The elephant that invades the screen without surprising the audience : Intervista / Underground
  • We can even note that Emir took that name of one of Fellini's first films to baptise his production company : Cabiria films.

Selective filmography

en/federico_fellini.txt · Last modified: 2008/02/13 13:03 by matthieu1