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International Arts Society to screen Italian directorial breakthrough

By Rebecca Missel
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 5, 1999
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Back in 1954, Federico Fellini made a film called "La Strada" that ended up catapulting him to fame.

Though many viewers know him from his other films, including "8 1/2," a complex tale of a creatively frustrated film director and the sexually explicit, "La Dolce Vita," "La Strada" brought Fellini international acclaim. The film won the Academy Award for best foreign film that year and was nominated for Best Writing and Best Original Screenplay.

In the film, young Gelsomina is sold for just a few coins by her poor mother to a brutish circus wrestler, played by Anthony Quinn. Despite her mother's scheming to the contrary, Quinn woos the peasant girl as they travel along the road, la strada. Viewers have called "La Strada" innocent and childlike, while at the same time very complex and compelling.

Through many of his films, Fellini drew from his dreams and experiences as a child in Italy dominated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII. Characters like the traveling salesmen in "8 1/2" and "La Dolce Vita" are based on his father who held the same profession.

Besides his insightful films, Fellini invented the word "paparazzo" to describe a pack of photographers that hunt down celebrities, and his work also inspired the adjective, "Felliniesque."

Fellini is remembered for saying, "My work is my only relationship to everything." In 1993, he was given an honorary Academy Award in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments, though he died in October of that year.

The film plays Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Modern Languages auditorium as a part of the International Arts Society Film Series.

Call coordinator Charles Scruggs at 621-3527 as soon as possible, because as Fellini says, "You exist only in what you do."

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