Federico Fellini, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, is without question an icon of world cinema, winning more "Best Foreign Film" Oscars than any director while being ranked by THE CINEMA ARCHIVES as the #5 filmmaker of all time and #17 by ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY magazine. In a career spanning four decades, Fellini established himself as the heart and soul of Italian cinema ranging from the Neorealism post-war period through the height of the "art film" era of the 60s and into the politically and sexually dynamic films of the 70s. The Esquire celebrates this recipient of the "Order of Merit of the Italian Republic" (its highest ranking honour) with three of Fellini's unforgettable classics from the three main decades of his cinematic prominence:
LA STRADA (THE ROAD) scores a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, the Critics Consensus: "Giulietta Masina and Anthony Quinn's pitiable pair of outsiders provide a poignant contrast between gentleness and might in Federico Fellini's unforgettable parable."
This bittersweet study of characters on "the road" holds the remarkable distinction of being the first recipient of the "Best Foreign Language Film" Academy Award, and forever planted Fellini on the radar screen of film lovers. Starring Fellini's wife Giuletta Masina and the magnificent Anthony Quinn as circus "strong man" Zampano, LA STRADA was called by AFI "one of the most influential films ever made" and has become (along with BICYCLE THIEVES) perhaps the iconic example of Italian Neorealism.
Synopsis: A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.
Want more? Don't miss the perfect Companion film to LA STRADA, BICYCLE THIEVES, also playing 9/18-24!
The perfect "companion piece" for Fellini's LA STRADA in his 100th birthday celebration, Vittorio De Sica's BICYCLE THIEVES is one of those movies that EVERY film enthusiast needs to see at some point for its stark and definitive depiction of Italian Neorealism. A staple of film-school courses since the 50s, BICYCLE THIEVES was initially ranked "The Greatest Film of All Time" by SIGHT AND SOUND and might be the all-time most popular "Art House" title in movie history. The simple story of a family fighting to survive the tough post-war years in Italy is moving and touching on levels rarely seen in world cinema and is a "don't miss" for anyone who has never seen it on the big screen.
Synopsis: Lamberto Maggiorani plays Antonio, an unemployed man who finds a coveted job that requires a bicycle. When it is stolen on his first day of work, Antonio and his young son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) begin a frantic search, learning valuable lessons along the way.
8 1/2 is certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98%! The Critics Consensus: "Inventive, thought-provoking, and funny, 8 1/2 represents the arguable peak of Federico Fellini's many towering feats of cinema."
Well into the peak of his prolific career, Fellini made the self-reflective 8 1/2 as a chronicle of his own struggles as a filmmaker (having made eight prior films) with what SIGHT AND SOUND credits as the 10th greatest film in movie history. Fellini's alter ego (following the 1960 masterpiece LA DOLCE VIDA) Marcello Mastroianni is brilliant in the lead role of a director searching for motivation and meaning at a spa setting for his next film. Another winner of the "Best Foreign Film" Oscar, 8 1/2 is ranked by the British Film Institute in the top 50 films of all time, and was the inspiration for the Broadway musical smash hit NINE, as well the 2009 movie based on that musical (in addition to Woody Allen's STARDUST MEMORIES).
Synopsis: Exhausted from the success of his latest blockbuster film, already feeling pressured to come up with another smash hit, and suffering from a massive creative block, filmmaker Guido Anselmi (Marc Mastroianni) heads off for a mountain resort to recharge and come up with a new idea. His search for inspiration leads him down many strange, twisted paths and these journeys provide the basis of the rollicking, at times riotous, long and mesmerizing 8 1/2, simultaneously one of Fellini's best loved and most deeply personal films.
Want more? Don't miss the perfect Companion film to 8 1/2, Day for Night, also playing 9/25-10/1!
Ranking alongside Fellini's 8 1/2 as the greatest movie about making a movie, DAY FOR NIGHT is one of Francois Truffault's most popular films and one that allowed his fans to see the master filmmaker himself on the screen playing a director (with the luminous Jacqueline Bisset as his star in both the film and film within a film). Winner of the Oscar for "Best Foreign Film," the movie's name refers to the technique of using filters or certain film stock to emulate nighttime while shooting during the day. In addition to making the TIME magazine list of the "Top 100 Films" of the 20th century, DAY FOR NIGHT received acclaim from Roger Ebert as ""the best movie ever made about making movies."
While Fellini continued making films for another 17 years, AMARCORD is one of his fan's favorites as perhaps the most autobiographical "I remember" work of nostalgic memories from his childhood in Fascist Italy. Also a winner of the Oscar for "Best Foreign Film," AMARCORD is highly influential on many similarly themed films (including Woody Allen's RADIO DAYS) and holds up as both poignant and hilarious today.
Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an 87%, the Critics Consensus: "Ribald, sweet, and sentimental, Amarcord is a larger-than-life journey through a seaside village and its colorful citizens."
Want more? Don't miss the perfect Companion film to Amarcord, Seven Beauties, also playing 10/2-10/8!
Attaining the "Fellini-esque" appeal of making a touching film about Fascist Italy as "the maestro" did in AMARCORD, Lina Wertmuller became the first female to receive a "Best Director" Oscar nomination (as well as "Best Screenplay") for SEVEN BEAUTIES, a charming tale (in spite of its setting) about a rogue with seven unattractive sisters trying to survive WWII. Giancarlo Giannni steps into a lead role that Marcello Mastroianni would have played for Fellini, also earning an Oscar nomination for "Best Actor." The restored version of this Italian classic was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
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