NBC Experiment in Television: Season 3, Episode 6

Fellini: A Director's Notebook (15 Mar. 1969)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Animation | Comedy
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Fellini discusses his views of making motion pictures and his unorthodox procedures. He seeks inspiration in various out of the way places. During this film viewers go with him to the ... See full summary »

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Title: Fellini: A Director's Notebook (15 Mar 1969)

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Ennio Antonelli ...
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Caterina Boratto ...
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Marina Boratto ...
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Pasqualino De Santis ...
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Alvaro Vitali ...
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Fellini discusses his views of making motion pictures and his unorthodox procedures. He seeks inspiration in various out of the way places. During this film viewers go with him to the Colisseum at night, on a subway ride past Roman ruins, to the Appian Way, to a slaughterhouse, and on a visit to Marcello Mastroianni's house. Fellini also is seen in his own office interviewing a series of unusual characters seeking work or his help. Written by Anonymous

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15 March 1969 (USA)  »

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This documentary is featured on the 2-Disc Criterion Collection DVD for (1963). See more »

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Featured in Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
of most interest to Fellini fans; casual viewers, per usual, will be baffled but amused I'd figure
25 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Director's Notebook, a very off-the-cuff, stream-of-consciousness documentary by Federico Fellini, reminds me of what Terry Gilliam said in his introduction on the 8 1/2 DVD, of which this is so generously included. He said that once he went and shot a film in Italy and more specifically in Rome, he guessed that perhaps Fellini was perhaps more of a documentarian of what he saw in Rome than he was making up incredibly outrageous and fantastical visions. This time we as the audience get about as close as that can be (though Amarcord, and to an extent La Dolce Vita, come close too in their own ways) to the Rome that Fellini sees as real. We may not, of course, but it is of course all part of subjectivity when going into many documentaries. This time, we get a view inside Fellini's film-making style, his actors, some memories and locations and shots and "lost" sets and footage, and the un-reality of it all just pours more truth to the gobbledy-gook that sometimes makes up the film.

As with even the lesser Fellini moments, he doesn't leave fans totally without some fulfillment. It's something that is very much what Fellini would do, given what he wants to show the audience as his techniques and approaches. Right away we know this will and wont be your usual auto-bio into a director, as he gets some comments off some 'hippies' who happen to be traipsing around the ruins of a film he planned to shoot (or not, as case may be, I don't know). Then he and the American narrator go on between seeing things being shot- and the sets of which shot by Fellini himself with the usual peering and following and moving camera- on Satyricon. But it's not just that, to be sure, as it is basically a look through notes, ideas, and much of what might be considered almost conventional in the Fellini-esquire sense. But it's still entertaining through it all, and I loved seeing a partial re-creation and look at Fellini's inspiration from the "Old Rome" he knew through silent films as a kid. Or the moments with Mastroianni. A nice diddy, which is now no longer a lost scene but now restored, is the sack-man scene from Nights of Cabiria hosted by Masina herself.

And all the while, in tricky English, Fellini leads us along in his very bigger-than-life though somehow modest way of talking to us as his audience, through Roman ruins, coliseums, actors in screen tests, scenes being shot, seeing some strange things (one of which, maybe not as strange, is his own office), and other fragments that are very reminiscent of Fellini's comedies and tragedies. Nothing too revelatory, but just enough to keep Fellini fans salivating.


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