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Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Sergio Rubini,
A film that was originally planned as a documentary celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Cinecittà turned into a pseudo-documentary on Fellini himself. “As in A Director’s Notebook, The Clowns, and Fellini’s Roma, the camera follows a director and crew shooting a film about the subject in question. The pretext (as if Fellini needed one) is a pilgrimage to il maestro by a Japanese television crew. Still, Cinecittà is a crucial background: Fellini called it ‘a fortress, an alibi, if you like.’ Six unconnected sequences offer a glimpse of the generous if chaotic ambiance in which Fellini performed his magic. They include a night shoot, with huge cranes, lights, and smoke, to capture one of Fellini’s dreams; a scene in his projected adaptation of Kafka’s Amerika (its style a bizarre mix of Dickens and softcore porn); his assistant director fending off people who are certain they are ‘Fellini types’; a reconstruction of Fellini’s own first visit to Cinecittà as a young journalist in 1937 on the tram line built by Mussolini; and Marcello Mastroianni, playing a magician, evoking the Trevi Fountain sequence from La dolce vita at Anita Ekberg’s mansion” (Seymour Chatman).