The Cinematheque’s non-virtual Fellini 100 retrospective was interrupted in late November by updated provincial health orders, which have closed cinemas in B.C. for the time being. They hope to reschedule much of the retrospective when in-person screenings resume. In the meantime, a selection of these Fellini 100 titles will be presented online:
Variety Lights (Luci del varieta’) – Italy, 1950 Federico Fellini was a circus ringmaster from the get-go! The beloved filmmaker’s debut feature, co-directed with veteran Alberto Lattuada, is a bittersweet romantic drama set amongst a tawdry troupe of travelling vaudeville performers. Variety Lights is a delightful early incarnation of the eccentric, carnivalesque Fellini universe.
The Road (La strada) – Italy, 1954 Fellini’s poetic fable was his breakout work and first unquestioned masterpiece; La Strada won hearts and collected prizes around the world. Giulietta Masina (Fellini’s wife) gives one of cinema’s most memorable performances as Gelsomina, a sweet, simple peasant girl who is “sold” by her mother to Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutish strongman in a travelling circus.
The Swindle (Il bidone) – Italy/France, 1955 Fellini’s often-forgotten follow-up to the hugely successful La Strada is a neorealist crime drama that flirts with film noir. Featuring a commanding lead performance from American tough-guy actor Broderick Crawford (All the King’s Men), Il Bidone relates the tragic tale of three small-time con men who pose as priests in order to swindle the poor.
Their virtual presentation of Fellini’s medium-length horror film Toby Dammit (1968) also includes French master Chris Marker’s celebrated science-fiction short La Jetée (1962).