Fellini’s 100th birthday to be marked by major UK-wide celebration

The great Italian director's centenary will be celebrated with a major two-month retrospective at BFI Southbank, a UK-wide re-release of La dolce vita, and a tour of classic Fellini films to cinemas nationwide.

8½ (1963)

The BFI today announces a major year-long celebration to mark the centenary of one of cinema’s most exuberantly playful filmmakers, Federico Fellini (1920–1993), in partnership with Luce – Cinecittà. The celebration begins at BFI Southbank with a two-month complete retrospective of Fellini’s work in January – February 2020. This retrospective is the first of the Fellini 100 official tour, a series of centennial tributes to Fellini, coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Culture, which will travel to major museums and film institutes worldwide, led by Luce – Cinecittà.

Fellini’s career stretches from post-war neorealism to the MTV era and his work has gone on to influence several generations of directors including David Lynch, Pedro Almodóvar, Sofia Coppola and Martin Scorsese, the latter of who described La dolce vita (1960) as “the film that conquered the world:. BFI will re-release La dolce vita on 3 January in selected cinemas as well as make available a number of Fellini’s most influential films via a tour to cinemas nationwide and a collection on BFI Player.

The two-month season at BFI Southbank has been programmed thematically by film academic, critic and broadcaster Pasquale Iannone. It will begin in January with Walkers and Wanderers, a strand focusing on loosely-structured journey narratives, including titles such as La strada (1954) and The Voice of the Moon (1990). Also in January will be the second strand Spectacle and Society – including Satyricon (1969) and Ginger and Fred (1986) in which Fellini places spectacle firmly in a socio-historical context. The weekend of 18-19 January will see a special focus on his work ahead of what would have been Fellini’s 100th birthday: Monday 20 January.

In February the season turns to focus on Fellini’s more overtly autobiographical films with Self-Portraits and Dreams. Fellini was acclaimed as one of Italy’s most oneiric filmmakers, with many of his films drawing on memories and dreams such as I vitelloni (1953) which is based on Fellini’s own adolescence, and the Oscar-winning Amarcord (1973). In Roma (1972), Fellini reflects on his childhood as well as his arrival in the Eternal City for the first time in the 1930s. 8½ (1963) satirises the experience of creative block, and Juliet of the Spirits (1965) is the fruit of his long-standing interest in the world of psychics and seers.

Also in February, BFI Southbank will be screening three episodes directed by Fellini, including one for the anthology film Love in the City called Agenzia matrimoniale, a section from Boccaccio ‘70 titled Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio and the episode Toby Dammit from Tales of Mystery and Imagination. The full programme with contextual talks and attending guests will be announced soon.

Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

The BFI will be re-releasing a 4K restoration of La dolce vita, Fellini’s exquisite, epic tale of the Roman glitterati, which celebrates its 60th birthday next year, in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on Friday 3 January. It is set over seven decadent days following Marcello Mastroianni’s philandering journalist, pursuing a happiness that’s always just out of reach. In addition to the re-release, BFI will make a Fellini Centenary Tour available to cinemas UK-wide. The tour will screen La dolce vita, I vitelloni, Juliet of the Spirits, 8½ and The Nights of Cabiria (1957), all of which have received 4K restorations.

A package of Fellini classics will also be made available online with a BFI Player subscription (now available via Apple TV+ as well as Amazon Prime Video), many for the first time in the UK. The collection will include his most celebrated masterpieces while also highlighting lesser known works that are ripe for rediscovery. All films have been digitally restored by Luce – Cinecittà, Cineteca di Bologna and Cineteca Nazionale.

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