Synopses & Reviews
A lively and authoritative journey into the world of a cinema master
With the revolutionary 8 1/2, Federico Fellini put his deepest desires and anxieties before the lens in 1963, permanently impacting the art of cinema in the process. Now, more than forty years later, film critic and Fellini confidant Tullio Kezich has written the work by which all other biographies of the filmmaker are sure to be measured. In this moving and intimately revealing account of a lifetime spent in pictures, Kezich uses his friendship with Fellini as a means to step outside the frame of myth and anecdote that surrounds him—much, it turns out, of the director’s own making.
A great lover of women and a meticulous observer of dreams, Fellini, perhaps more than any other director of the twentieth century, created films that embodied a thoroughly modern sensibility, eschewing traditional narrative along with religious and moral precepts. His is an art of delicate pathos, of episodic films that directly address the intersection of reality, fantasy, and desire that exists as a product of mid-century Italy—a country reeling from a Fascist regime as it struggled with an outmoded Catholic national identity. As Kezich reveals, the dilemmas Fellini presents in his movies reflect not only his personal battles but those of Italian society. The result is a book that explores both the machinations of cinema and the man who most grandly embraced the full spectrum of its possibilities, leaving his indelible mark on it forever.
"This is a revised and updated edition of Kezich's 1988 biography of Fellini (1920 1993), one of several books the Italian film critic has written about his longtime friend since the two met at a film festival in the early 1950s. Despite the close author-subject connection, however, the biography rarely presents an intimate view of the director, preferring to view Fellini primarily through the prism of his films and other work. Much of what readers learn of Fellini's life before movies, for example, comes through Kezich's examination of Fellini's old newspaper columns and radio scripts; the personal, conversely, is largely reduced to the anecdotal. The translation, which sets a conversational, at times flippant, tone by using the present tense, reinforces the lightness of Kezich's account, suggesting early on that it's up to readers whether to believe what they read. As a guided tour through films like 1960's La Dolce Vita and 1963's 8, with unusual side paths, like the discussion of an aborted collaboration with Carlos Castaneda, this is entertaining enough, but fans hoping for more than an occasional glimpse of the man behind the movies will have to keep looking. B&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Trenchant in its critical analysis, absorbing and sympathetic in its account of his private life, Kezich's Fellini
is a revelation. It effaces virtually everything written to date about the Italian maestro . . . This engrossing biography mirrors its subject. It's affectionate, garrulous and often rambling, and in sudden flashes of brilliance it offers a penetrating view of Fellini's life and art." --Peter Cowie, The Nation
"Few writers are able to approach Fellini with the privilege of intimate experience and friendship . . . Kezich fills the pages of this biography with uncommon detail and artistry, presenting a chronicle that weaves life with film, fact with fantasy, in a style reminiscent of the great director's avant-garde style . . . For the aficionado of Fellini's works, this narrative of his life provides a sea of subtle, precious anecdotes. To those yet unacquainted with the Italian master, the book is an introduction not only to the man's life, but his art, also. It's a captivating read." --Karoun Demirjian, The Christian Science Monitor
"Kezich's forty-year friendship with the maestro allows him to offer up an intimate and lively portrait of Fellini filled with revealing anecdotes and psychological insight." --Michel Ciment, author of Kubrick and Kazan on Kazan
About the Author
Tullio Kezich is the film critic for Corriere della Sera. He has written numerous books on cinema as well as other subjects, and is a widely performed playwright.