E103 25331 Film and Fantasy: Federico Fellini (Bondanella) (FRIT) (A & H) (3 cr.)


This course introduces the student to Italyís greatest film director, a man who in 1992 was voted the most important film director in the history of the cinema by 100 directors and people in the industry (edging out Orson Welles!). The same professional people in 1992 voted two of his films, La strada and 8 1/2, as among the best 10 films ever shot. We shall read a number of essays, interviews, and critical works devoted to Fellini and Italian film culture. The focus of the course will be upon how a personal vision, even a poetic and fantastic perspective, may be developed in a medium that is too often seen as only a business or a low-brow form of entertainment.

During the course of the semester, lectures and special resources available only at IU, either from the instructorís personal collection of materials or from the Lilly Libraryís Fellini Archive (the only such archive available at the present time) will be employed to give students first hand knowledge about such themes as Felliniís dream notebooks (the ultimate source of his imagery and films); Felliniís drawings and sketches, many of which are done on manuscripts of his screenplays for other directors that the Lilly Library preserves; videotapes of Felliniís out-takes for certain films, of his parodies of television commercials, and of Fellini working on the set to create artificial images in the studio rather than imitating reality outside the studio; and slides of Felliniís early cartoons and colored drawings that he employs in making his films.

One other unique video source will be a screening of parts of Felliniís last filmóThe Voice of the Moon ófrom the work copy before the sound track is dubbed (Fellini shoots on location without sound, everyone recites lines in a variety of languages, and only after editing is his soundtrack added to the film; he also talks directly to the actors while they act with music in the background. All of this is exactly the opposite of most Hollywood productions, where sound is synchronized, actors all recite their lines from a set script, and the director is certainly silent).

Many of these materials are simply unavailable anywhere and will provide students with a unique opportunity to study the creative process of a director from initial ideas to final work of art. All students in the course will be asked to attend one session with the instructor in the Lilly Library to examine and discuss the manuscripts there, especially Felliniís comic drawings on them.

The books required for class reading will be put on reserve not only in the Main Library Reserve Room but also in the Department of West European Studies Library (542 Ballantine Hall). All films either have English subtitles or, in a few cases, have English dialogue. Most films in the course are available not only in the IU Main Library Media Reserve or in West European Studies but also from the Monroe County Public Library or Blockbuster. If you miss an evening screening, make sure you do see the film on tape. Exams and quizzes will refer directly to the films as well as to class lectures and readings.

Class requirements:

Required Textbooks (ordered for bookstore and on reserve):

  1. Federico Fellini, Fellini on Fellini. Da Capo Press paperback (hereafter FF).
  2. Peter Bondanella, The Cinema of Federico Fellini. . Princeton University Press paperback. (hereafter Cinema).
  3. Federico Fellini, La Strada : Federico Fellini, Director. Rutgers University Press paperback (hereafter Strada)
  4. Federico Fellini, 8 1/2: Federico Fellini, Director. Rutgers University Press paperback. (hereafter 8 1/2).
Library Reserve texts (not ordered for bookstore):
  1. Peter Bondanella, ed. Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism. (hereafter Essays).
  2. Cristina Degli Esposti and Peter Bondanella, ed. Perspectives on Federico Fellini (hereafter Perspectives).
  3. Frank Burke and Margaret Waller, eds. Federico Fellini: Contemporary Perspectives (hereafter Contemporary).