FELLINI IN CITTÀ ovvero Frammenti di una conversazione su Federico Fellini

Maurizio Ponzi

Coll.: Eduardo De Gregorio; F.: Giancarlo Lari; Mu.: Alberico Vitalini; Interventi: Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Vittorio Cottafavi, Marco Ferreri, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Paolo e Vittorio Taviani; Prod.: Corona Cinematografica; DVD. D.: 13’

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Never mentioned in the filmographies, not just of Maurizio Ponzi (who made the film before he began to direct features the following year), but also of Godard, Pasolini, Bertolucci, Ferreri, Bellocchio, the Taviani brothers, Cottafavi (quite an array), Fellini in città lay hidden, like a mysterious little treasure, in the Corona collection in the Cineteca di Bologna. It is an illuminating document on how the ‘Fellini phenomenon’ was perceived by cineastes (above all the youngest) in the climate that preceded ‘68. Following one after the other, frontally and severely framed, looking fixedly into the camera, as if facing a firing squad, some excellent friends and enemies of Fellini, in his absence, talk without reticence about his cinema. Cottafavi speaks elegantly of the Fellinian “magic realism” and the delicacy of his poetry, and expresses admiration for 8 ½. Bertolucci, as stern as a boy playing at being a judge, speaks of “elephantiasis”, of a vision that is “provincial” even if none the less profound, but admits to being always seduced by Fellini (“irresistibile”). Pasolini, slightly bent and, one would say, tormented by an indecipherable anxiety, asserts that the Fellini case is the expression of the contradictions of catholic little Italy, politically apathetic and provincial, which tries to rebel against itself with the irrationality of poetry. But then he concludes that it is precisely the dilation of the style which renders it an artistic fact of great importance. The most dated (and unintentionally amusing) contribution is that of Bellocchio who, in the contrite and psalm-singing tones of an abbot, says that he finds Fellini uncongenial because he lacks a political vision and posesses a typically catholic ambiguity. Nor do the brothers Taviani manifest much sympathy, while the most affectionate is Ferreri, who says he loves him greatly and recalls being close to him in a moment of crisis (evidently he is referring to the SanarelliSchwarzmann syndrome which struck Fellini in 1967, and to the crisis which sank the project for Viaggio di G. Mastorna). Godard asserts that he loves La dolce vita and considers Fellini the only one who makes film like a boy. But it is a doubleedged compliment. Finally Ponzi himself pays his homage, recalling the pine foresto of Fregene, empty and magical, echoing a scene in Giulietta degli spiriti, and underlines how often the Fellinian poetry is born precisely from subtraction.

Roberto Chiesi

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