Italy fetes half century of Fellini's Dolce Vita

Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:36am EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

RIMINI, Italy (Reuters) - Federico Fellini's classic film "La Dolce Vita" is approaching the half-century mark and the director's hometown is pulling out the stops to give it a Felliniesque two-year-long international birthday bash.

The celebrations for the film, which Fellini conceived in 1958, shot in 1959 and premiered in early 1960, will extend to Los Angeles in 2009 in a fittingly drawn-out tribute to the man who liked to say "why use two words when 10 will do?"

As part of the 50th-anniversary initiatives, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, will hold an exhibition from January 24- Apr. 19 on Fellini's "Book of my Dreams" at its headquarters in Beverly Hills.

But Rimini kicked off the party last week with an international convention on "La Dolce Vita." It included speeches by critics, a sociologist, a psychoanalyst, a composer, an etymologist and even a priest.

For two days they discussed, dissected and debated every aspect of a 178-minute long, black-and-white film that changed cinema history.

Fellini, who died in Rome in 1993, is a god among film buffs and the "La Dolce Vita" is an icon. So it was no surprise that for some the convention was akin to a religious experience, a chance to venerate a relic along with fellow believers.

"Our role is to conserve and transmit the historical memory of Federico Fellini," Vittorio Boarini, director of the foundation that bears the late director's name, said solemnly.

The foundation holds seminars and exhibitions, publishes books and even has a quarterly review of "Fellinian Studies," including such weighty topics as the significance of trains and the sea in Fellini's expressionism.   Continued...

 
<p>Actors Marcello Mastroianni (L) and Anita Ekberg perform a scene in Federico Fellini's epic film "La Dolce Vita" which came out in 1960. Fellini's classic film "La Dolce Vita" is approaching the half-century mark and the director's hometown is pulling out the stops to give it a Felliniesque two-year-long international birthday bash. REUTERS/Reporters Associati and Cineteca di Bologna/Handout</p>