☀ You can borrow and read I, Fellini free below. ☀
Author Charlotte Chandler* and the subject of this biography, influential filmmaker Federico Fellini, were good friends for 14 years, until his death. He spoke the raw text of this book to her over restaurant dinners and while they were being driven about in cars. They were obviously charmed by one other, and you can see in the book Federico doing his excellent best to give her what will please her — his history, his feelings, insights to his work, sparks of his genius, every anecdote that will entertain and illustrate.
In the introduction, Chandler quotes Fellini talking to her:
“We are not in control of our memories. One doesn’t own one’s memories. One is owned by them.
“You’re a good listener, and sometimes I learn something about myself from what I hear myself telling you. I have never knowingly lied to you, because you trust me. I cannot lie to a person who believes everything I say to her.
“Of course, I can lie to myself, and frequently do.”
He admitted that he had a reputation, not unearned, for not always being a man of his word, though my experience was that he always kept his promises. He would say to me, “I swear,” to indicate his seriousness about anything I proposed.
felliniesque to the max
Fellini is known for films such as 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, La Strada, Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini Satyricon, Roma, and Casanova — dazzling examples of what the world calls “Felliniesque” (from Wiktionary.com):
Fellini, whose influences include Carl Jung and Groucho Marx, says:
Everyone lives in his own fantasy world, but most people don’t understand that. No one perceives the real world. Each person simply calls his private, personal fantasies the Truth. The difference is that I know I live in a fantasy world. I prefer it that way and resent anything that disturbs my vision.
I, Fellini is divided into three parts. The first one, “Federico”, is about him as a boy and young man. This excerpt tells just the beginning of a lovely story that’s in Part I:
I’ve wanted to use the story of my first love in a film, but it never quite fit in, and I was worried that it might seem trite because the idea had been used by others. First love is a subject many people like to write about. When I was sixteen, I saw a girl of angelic beauty seated in the window of a house on the block where I lived. Though I had never before seen an angel, she was exactly how I imagined an angel should look.
She lived so near, yet somehow I had never met her, nor even seen her. Perhaps it’s because my eyes weren’t ready to see her until that moment. I knew I had to meet her, but I wasn’t certain how to do it. It was a different time, and another code of behavior, out of the past, prevailed.
I thought of drawing a picture of her in the frost on her window along with a little message. I decided this would be too subtle. She wouldn’t know who drew it, unless I signed it, and she probably wouldn’t know who I was, anyway. And what would keep other people from reading my message to her? Especially her parents. And what if it melted?
Part II of the book is titled “Federico Fellini”, and is about him as a movie fan and young director. In Part III he has graduated to just “Fellini”, and has become a “legend in his own lifetime”.
A fascinating, intimate look inside the mind and life and work of a creative genius.
more resources related to federico fellini
- Fellini: Words and Drawings
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