WHEN ROME ACTED FOR FELLINI

Federico Fellini’s cinema was able to capture the grotesque side of society, restoring a sense of topicality that continues to this day, one hundred years after his birth.
It is probably for this reason and due to his legacy, which has been taken up by so many directors, that the stories, faces and locations of his movies seem so familiar to us.

The locations in which he used to place his characters were never predictable. So Rome, which has interpreted itself many times, also “played” the Italian province at his service, becoming for example, along with its coast, the Rimini of the Vitelloni (1953).

Via Veneto, instead, the center of La Dolce Vita (1960), is real even though it was rebuilt in Cinecittà and while it is true that it is populated with stars hounded by paparazzi, there are also some oddball characters like the naïve prostitute Giulietta Masina in the Nights of Cabiria (1957).

Some Fellinian places are more frequented than others, however the director is successful in his attempt to place figures in them that occupy opposing steps on the social ladder: the exclusive nightclub of the Terme di Caracalla where Anita Ekberg performs an unrestrained dance was previously the archaeological walkway where Cabiria and her colleagues earned their living.

Eur is another recurring location in Fellinian cinema: the set for La Dolce Vita, where the Palazzo dei Congressi becomes a hospital, is an open-air temple of carefreeness in Le tentazioni del Dottor Antonio (1962), or the place where the worst nightmares of Peppino De Filippo are embodied in the flourishing Anita Ekberg.

Fregene deserves a separate chapter.
Its monumental pinewood frames a knowing Alberto Sordi dangling from a height of 30 meters in The White Sheik (1952); we find it populated with those grotesque figures encouraging Juliet of the Spirits (1965) (Masina) to leave her faithless husband and it becomes the out-of-the-way station in which Snàporaz (Mastroianni) follows a woman before finding himself imprisoned in the dreamlike City of Women (1980).

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