“Non si interrompe un’emozione”*

*Federico Fellini’s slogan “Non si interrompe un’emozione” (Don’t interrupt an emotion) was directed against the excessive use of TV advertisements.

Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (20 January 1920 – 31 October 1993) was an Italian film director and screenwriter known for his distinctive style, which blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness. He is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time.

Apart from satirizing Silvio Berlusconi and mainstream television in Ginger and Fred, Fellini rarely expressed political views in public and never directed an overtly political film.

Personal and highly idiosyncratic visions of society, Fellini’s films are a unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. The adjectives “Fellinian” and “Felliniesque” are “synonymous with any kind of extravagant, fanciful, even baroque image in the cinema and in art in general”. La Dolce Vita contributed the term paparazzi to the English language, derived from Paparazzo, the photographer friend of journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni).

While Fellini was for the most part indifferent to politics, he had a general dislike of authoritarian institutions, and is interpreted by Bondanella as believing in “the dignity and even the nobility of the individual human being”. In a 1966 interview, he said, “I make it a point to see if certain ideologies or political attitudes threaten the private freedom of the individual. But for the rest, I am not prepared nor do I plan to become interested in politics.”

Fellini was raised in a Roman Catholic family and considered himself a Catholic, but avoided formal activity in the Catholic Church. Fellini’s films include Catholic themes; some celebrate Catholic teachings, while others criticize or ridicule church dogma.

A major discovery for Fellini after his Italian neorealism period (1950–1959) was the work of Carl Jung. After meeting Jungian psychoanalyst Dr. Ernst Bernhard in early 1960, he read Jung’s autobiography, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963) and experimented with LSD. Bernhard also recommended that Fellini consult the I Ching and keep a record of his dreams. What Fellini formerly accepted as “his extrasensory perceptions” were now interpreted as psychic manifestations of the unconscious. Bernhard’s focus on Jungian depth psychology proved to be the single greatest influence on Fellini’s mature style and marked the turning point in his work from neorealism to filmmaking that was “primarily oneiric”. As a consequence, Jung’s seminal ideas on the anima and the animus, the role of archetypes and the collective unconscious directly influenced such films as 8 1/2 (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Fellini Satyricon (1969), Casanova (1976), and City of Women (1980). Other key influences on his work include Luis Buñuel, Charlie Chaplin, Sergei Eisenstein, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, and Roberto Rossellini.

Fellini died in Rome on 31 October 1993 at the age of 73 after a heart attack he suffered a few weeks earlier, a day after his 50th wedding anniversary. The memorial service, in Studio 5 at Cinecittà, was attended by an estimated 70,000 people. At Giulietta Masina’s request, trumpeter Mauro Maur played Nino Rota’s “Improvviso dell’Angelo” during the ceremony.

Five months later, on 23 March 1994, Masina died of lung cancer. Fellini, Masina and their son, Pierfederico, are buried in a bronze sepulchre sculpted by Arnaldo Pomodoro. Designed as a ship’s prow, the tomb is at the main entrance to the Cemetery of Rimini. The Federico Fellini Airport in Rimini is named in his honour.”

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