View Full Version : Fellini for newbs...

DJ Greene
09-02-2010, 12:13 PM
im looking for some recommendations. most accessible film? best film?

i've seen 8 1/2 and enjoyed it but have been putting off getting in to his deeper catalouge.

Tom D
09-02-2010, 12:23 PM
I love La Dolce Vita

Troy Howarth
09-02-2010, 12:28 PM
Most accessible? That's a toughie... A lot of people find Amarcord to be very easy to get into, but my own intro was via the Toby Dammit segment of Spirits of the Dead. 8 1/2 is my favorite, but perhaps it's best to start with, say, Nights of Cabiria or I Vitelloni or La Strada - those are key early works before his work became more excessive and eccentric. Then you can build to the likes of 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita...

John G.
09-02-2010, 12:31 PM
LA DOLCE VITA may be the best introduction to his work because it comes right before he transitioned from his early style to his later more surreal approach (oddly enough, JULIET OF THE SPIRITS, where I date the beginning of his "excessive" period, is one of his least accessible films).

SATYRICON is a nice intro to his latter-day films, IMO.

Troy Howarth
09-02-2010, 12:35 PM
I'd say 8 1/2 was the film that really lead into the "surreal," excessive period. I like Juliette a lot myself, but then again I tend to like most of his films... Satyricon is gorgeous to look at, but I didn't really enjoy it much.

Wayne Schmidt
09-02-2010, 03:25 PM
JULIETTE OF THE SPIRITS. The Criterion disc is lovely, and the colors are amazing.

Jonathan D. Cox
09-02-2010, 03:42 PM
I second JULIET. I had already watched several of Fellini's films and by the time I experienced JULIET the impact was blunted. Why? I do not want to say for fear of blunting the film's impact on DJ should he choose to watch it! Having said that I highly recommend JULIET or ARMACORD as your next film. MGM owns ROMA and SATYRICON and I wish they broadcast them on MGMHD already.

Steve R
09-02-2010, 03:46 PM
For openers, I'd suggest

La Dolce Vita

I saw White Sheik first and it really wasn't the right place to begin with this guy. I saw La Dolce Vita when I was too young to get it. Satyricon I saw in college and connected very well with it, then worked my way backwards.
I don't recommend you do that. Dolce is an adult slice of pie. Some freaky stuff to see if you're not ready for it.

Jonathan D. Cox
09-02-2010, 05:18 PM
Saw NIGHTS OF CABIRIA first. The scene wher Cabiria gets hypnotised was a truly transcendent moment for me.

Marshall Crist
09-02-2010, 05:49 PM
Another vote for NIGHTS OF CABIRIA.

Daniel M
09-03-2010, 08:52 PM

The great Richard Basehart's presence in both anchors them in reality for me.

David S
09-04-2010, 10:26 PM
I'd definitely agree that LA STRADA is one of his most accessible film. Especially if you're someone who isn't wholly familiar or in favor of foreign language films --- Anthony Quinn is great in this one!

Troy Howarth
09-05-2010, 12:46 PM
Indeed he is - I'm not a big fan of Quinn in general, but he's perfect for this film. And I agree with Daniel - Richard Basehart brings a lot to those two films, as well.

Jonathan D. Cox
09-05-2010, 02:34 PM
Has anyone seen the english dub of LA STRADA? Do Basehart and Quinn do their own dubbing?

Troy Howarth
09-05-2010, 02:48 PM
Yes they do... that's the only reason to watch it that way. Despite the loss of their voices, I think it works better in Italian. (The Criterion disc offers both tracks, happily.)

Tony D
09-05-2010, 07:39 PM
Fellini is my favorite filmmaker. I always recommend this order to get acquainted with Fellini:

I VITELLONI (quite autobiographical)
NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (his early career high water mark)
LA DOLCE VITA (The beginning of his Il Maestro phase)
8 1/2 (His masterwork; perhaps the greatest film ever made)
AMARCORD (again, more autobiography)
ROMA (brilliantly indulgent with some extraordinary camerawork)
THE CLOWNS (perhaps his most overlooked, yet enjoyable films)

After that? SEE THEM ALL!

Troy Howarth
09-05-2010, 08:30 PM
For me, the films can be divied up thus:

Top Tier:
8 1/2
I Vitelloni
Nights of Cabiria
La Dolce Vita
La Strada
Toby Dammit

Middle Tier:
Juliet of the Spirits
The White Sheik
And the Ship Sails On
Ginger and Fred
The Clowns
Orchestra Rehearsal

Bottom Tier:
The Temptation of Dr. Antonio (from Boccaccio 70)
Matrimonial Agency (from L'amore in citta)
Il Bidone
Fellini: A Director's Notebook (short)
City of Women

I have his very first (Variety Lights) and very last (Voice of the Moon), but haven't watched them yet.

John G.
09-05-2010, 09:39 PM
My Top 5:

1. 8 1/2
2. Satyricon
3. Juliet of the Spirits
4. La Dolce Vita
5. Casanova

First 5 to Watch:

1. La Dolce Vita
2. La Strada
3. 8 1/2
4. Satyricon
5. Nights of Cabiria

Troy Howarth
09-05-2010, 09:54 PM
When you said it was one of his least accessible films, I took that to mean you didn't like Juliet of the Spirits; happy to see you do!

John G.
09-06-2010, 05:50 AM
Oh, I love it, but I consider it "advanced" Fellini, and I think one should be familiar with his work before tackling it.

Troy Howarth
09-06-2010, 12:46 PM
I wouldn't disagree with that...

Tony D
09-06-2010, 02:10 PM
After seeing the first tier I mentioned:

8 1/2

---- Then, I would recommend:

LA STRADA (Wonderful, if not truly reflective of Fellini's work overall)
JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (his first color feature and eye-poppingly so)
TOBY DAMMIT (the other SPIRITS OF THE DEAD films aren't as bad as their rep, they just pale in comparison)
AND THE SHIP SAILS ON (his last great work, I've seen it several times and it gets better each viewing. Criminally overlooked)
INTERVISTA (his valedictory. The scene with Marcello and Anita Ekberg is a grace note for all Fellini fans)

Incidentally, my first Fellini was THE WHITE SHIEK. Although a minor work, it wasn't a half-bad introduction as it certainly gives hints to his later films. And, Fellini himself was a comics artist (fumetti), who continued to sketch and paint throughout his life.

09-09-2010, 05:44 PM
Top 5

8 1/2
La Dolce Vita
I Vitelloni
And the Ship Sails On

"La Dolce Vita" may be the best starting point, but it's quite long compared to "I Vitelloni", which is quite underrated. It's a big influence on many "coming of age" films of the 1970's and 1980's, "Diner" being an example of a film taht seems very inspired by it.

Troy Howarth
09-09-2010, 06:15 PM
Scorsese has also pointed to I Vitelloni's influence on Mean Streets.