Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions, June 30–Sept 18

TIFF Bell Lightbox follows its sensational Tim Burton exhibit with another presentation that pays loving tribute to a master director. Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions runs for the next three months at the Toronto International Film Festival home.

Additionally, they will be screening two related series. Fellini Dream Double Bills is a film series of Fellini films paired with a related film that shows his influence or inspiration. Each film pairing was specially selected by a film luminary or TIFF programmer. The Double Bill programmers were Atom Egoyan, James Schamus, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Isabella Rossellini, Jesse Wente, Piers Handling, Miranda July, Frédéric Boyer, Molly Haskell, Deepa Mehta, Radley Metzger and Lightbox Artistic Director Noah Cowan.

The other series that accompanies the exhibition is  Days of Glory: Masterworks of Italian Neorealism. It screens many of the great films from this vital cinematic movement and offers work by such masters of Italian cinema as Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Luchino Visconti and Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The screening series continue until August 28. The Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions exhibit continues until September 18, the final day of the 36th Toronto International Film Festival.


Fellini Fever Hits Toronto As TIFF Launches Major Consumer Campaign

Toronto – Summer has arrived and, with it, TIFF’s new exhibition Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions launching on June 30, 2011. With its first and only North American stop at TIFF Bell Lightbox, the exhibition showcases the Italian filmmaker’s fascination with stars, paparazzi and scandal, and reveals how his films contributed to the creation of contemporary celebrity culture. TIFF is targeting adults 25-54 with a multi-platform marketing campaign that incorporates a variety of tactics including a unique experiential execution, ”Fellini-esque” social media contesting, an exciting restaurant programme, community outreach among the Italian community and an extensive advertising campaign geared to building awareness and driving attendance. The 14-week campaign capitalizes on the exhibition’s main focus, Fellini’s obsession with celebrity and paparazzi, as a way to make it relevant to today’s audiences.

“Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions is a chic and vibrant exhibition that evokes a myriad of past and present collective pop-culture memories,” said Howard Kerbel, Vice-President, Sales, Marketing and Sponsorship at TIFF. “We wanted to convey these same exciting elements through a series of unique and creative executions such as the street screening program, which will allow us to engage audiences both new and familiar with Fellini and continue to grow and expand our audience base.”

TIFF will bring a taste of Fellini to Toronto’s streets and patios from June 30 to July 3 through an experiential campaign execution of “Pop-Up Screenings” developed with LAUNCH!.During its four-day activation, TIFF representatives dressed in period costumes will set up impromptu mobile screenings of clips from Fellini’s masterpieces during the evenings and project them onto walls and unique surfaces throughout high-traffic areas in Little Italy. The TIFF representatives will be transported in a FIAT. Consumers will be active participants in the campaign; they will not only be able to track these mobile screenings via Facebook and Twitter but they will also be able to join the conversation on Fellini and the paparazzi culture that inspired him. This campaign will continue to show TIFF's creativity in social media as seen with the successful Tim Burton “Cadavre Exquis” campaign, recently awarded the Gold Prize in the Social Media category at the 2011 Marketing Magazine Awards. Over four weeks in mid-July, TIFF will launch “Your Obsessions”, a social media campaign and contest developed in conjunction with The Juice Agency, which will ask followers to upload a picture of their own obsession accompanied by a single word to describe it. The photo will receive a “Fellini” treatment to make it look like it is from his era. Weekly winners will receive exhibition tickets and the overall winner will be awarded a grand prize, which includes Gala tickets to the Toronto International Film Festival, Exhibition tickets and dinner and hotel for one night.

“The creative concept of the campaign was inspired by European advertising which helped evoke the unique, sexy ‘cool’ of Rome in the 1960s in a subtle but powerful way. It contextualizes the theme of celebrity culture and scandal running throughout the exhibition and provides continuity to the campaign throughout all of our platforms,” said Jenny Norush, Director of Marketing at TIFF. “The result is a tantalizing and playful campaign with multiple entry points that will be impossible for Torontonians to ignore.”

The creative concept is based on the stunning on-set photography from Fellini’s films as well as shots taken by the paparazzi. The use of timeless black-and-white images of celebrities from Fellini’s era in contrast with an orange sticker that has been playfully and strategically placed to hide a potentially scandalous detail from the viewer creates a striking combination that inspires the viewer’s imagination. The tagline “Uncover the Art of Scandal” is a call to action that invites the viewer to want to “peel off” the sticker and uncover what is hidden underneath. This concept is utilized across all collateral, including a dedicated Fellini microsite that will extend the experience of the exhibition online and will also offer exclusive curatorial content and behind-the-scenes videos on the installing of the exhibition as well as interviews with TIFF key spokespersons throughout the summer.

The campaign includes eye-catching transit shelters, posters and postcards throughout Toronto, in addition to print, online, viral videos and radio advertising. Print ads are appearing in the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, The Grid, Now Magazine and, and throughout the 9-week print campaign. On-air radio spots will be broadcasted on CHIN Radio, Virgin and Boom.

Other promotional elements include TIFF’s Fellini restaurant programme, in partnership with Villa Charities, which will run for eight weeks. During this time, all 25 participating restaurants will create a menu item or cocktail inspired by Fellini. When a patron orders the Fellini item, they will receive a 2-for-1 voucher to the exhibition.

TIFF’s in-house Creative team developed and designed all elements of the campaign. TIFF’s Marketing Department along with Endeavour executed all the media planning and buying for the campaign.

A companion exhibition, "Gli Anni Della Dolce Vita" ("The Dolce Vita Years") will be presented as part of Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions, at TIFF Bell Lightbox and at the Carrier Gallery of the Columbus Centre in collaboration with Solares Fondazione delle Arti. Organized to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary at the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin last year, a special selection of this fascinating photographic exhibition captures the spirit and feeling of Rome around the time Fellini's masterpiece was filmed, including fascinating on-set photography and rare paparazzi photographs of the biggest stars traveling through the Eternal City.

Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions premiered at Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2009 and was also presented at MAMbo, Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna in 2010. The exhibition was curated by Sam Stourdzé, Director of the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, and produced by NBC Photography. At TIFF Bell Lightbox, the exhibition is organized by Noah Cowan with additional support from Cineteca di Bologna; legendary production designers Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo; the Fondation Fellini pour le cinéma, Sion; Fondazione Federico Fellini, Rimini and additional support by Cinemazero, Pordenone; Fondation Jérôme Seydoux–Pathé, Paris; Carlotta Films, Paris; L’Académie de France à Rome; Villa Medici, Rome; Beta Film, Oberhaching; Solares Fondazione delle Arti, Parma, Equa, Rome, and Janvier, Paris.

Admission for TIFF Members is free. Exhibition tickets are $12 for non-members (child/student/senior discounts available). For further ticket information visit Visa† is the only credit card accepted by TIFF.


Double bills by 12 luminaries from the film world—filmmakers, critics and programmers—including three TIFF programmers:


Miranda July: Federico Fellini’s La Strada with Jane Campion’s An Angel at My Table “In my heart there is another version of La Strada where Gelsomina eventually finds her way, like Campion’s Janet Frame, and gets to feel how much we love her.” —Miranda July

Miranda July is the director of Me and You and Everyone We Know and The Future.

La Strada
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy 1954
107 min.

Giulietta Masina gives a legendary performance as the waifish Gelsomina, who is sold by her parents into the service of Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a strongman with a travelling circus. Gelsomina’s fidelity to this brutish man who seduces, abuses and then rebuffs her eventually leads to tragedy when a gentle tightrope walker attempts to woo her away from her abusive master. Winner of over fifty prizes, including the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film.

An Angel at My Table
dir. Jane Campion
New Zealand 1990
158 min.

Jane Campion’s hauntingly powerful true-life story about Janet Frame, one of New Zealand’s most distinguished writers, won the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival. Awkward, withdrawn and anxious since childhood—and already nursing dreams of becoming a novelist—the teenaged Janet is eventually committed to an institution by her uncomprehending parents. Misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, she is given two hundred electroshock treatments over eight years of institutionalization, and is shortlisted for a lobotomy until her writing gives her doctors second thoughts.


Isabella Rossellini: Federico Fellini’s La Strada with Charles Chaplin’s Limelight

“I like the pairing of La Strada with Chaplin’s Limelight: both are about clowns, they are both sad and funny and both offer kind of ‘life lessons.’ These films have the power of a grandmother’s voice when she puts a child to bed, and tells stories that will stimulate good dreams instead of nightmares.”— Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini is an actress, author and filmmaker.

dir. Charles Chaplin
USA 1952
137 min.

Chaplin’s most unabashedly tear-stained melodrama takes place in the music halls of pre-WWI London. Calvero (Chaplin), a famous clown turned washed-up alcoholic, saves a young dancer (Claire Bloom) from suicide and inspires her to resume her dancing career, winning her love and devotion in the process; but as his career and health spiral downwards, he sets out to pave youth’s way to the future prior to making his final exit into the shadows.


Apichatpong Weerasethakul: Federico Fellini’s Roma with Terry Gilliam’s Brazil

“Dreams and memories merge. They are beautifully decadent. I remember watching Roma and feeling like I was flying through time. Roma is science fiction the same way that Brazil is a historical documentary.”

— Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is the director of Tropical Malady, Syndromes and a Century and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France 1972
128 min.

Opening with a classic sequence—a traffic jam even more hellish than the one in Godard’s Weekend—Roma plunges into a series of set pieces that illustrate “the fall of the Roman Empire”: a brothel decked out as a cattle ranch, an ecclesiastical fashion show with the Pope as a runway-strutting supermodel and priests on roller skates, a young Fellini’s encounter with Mussolini, and, in a classic Fellinian sequence of magic and woe, the discovery of ancient frescoes in a subway tunnel.

dir. Terry Gilliam
UK 1985
132 min.

Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a meek clerk in a collapsing, retro-fitted and stiflingly bureaucratic Orwellian state who is only free in his dreams, where he becomes a winged warrior saving a maiden in distress. When he attempts to correct an administrative error that resulted in the arrest and execution of an innocent man, he gets drawn into an underground resistance movement involving a rebel repairman (Robert De Niro) and a young woman (Kim Greist) who is the very image of his dream girl.


Atom Egoyan: Federico Fellini’s with Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore

“Frustrated directors waiting for things to happen in hotels.” —Atom Egoyan.

Atom Egoyan is the director of The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration and Chloe.

dir. Federico Fellini
Italy 1963
138 min.

Fellini’s dazzling semi-autobiographical fantasia stars his alter ego Marcello Mastroianni as Guido, a film director tormented by creative block whose latest project is being rushed into production even though he has no idea what it will be about. Fleeing from his responsibilities—including his wife (Anouk Aimée) and mistress (Sandra Milo), both in town for the shoot— Guido takes refuge in his dreams and memories, causing the people and places from his past to flood into (and become indistinguishable from) his present reality.

Beware of a Holy Whore
dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder
West Germany/Italy 1971
103 min.

Fassbinder’s sardonic take on the film business takes place at a seaside hotel in Spain, where the cast and crew of an under-financed film shoot sit around waiting for the peripatetic director Jeff (Lou Castel) to arrive with the film’s star (Eddie Constantine, of Godard’s Alphaville), the money and the film equipment. When Jeff arrives, he only heightens the tension and resentments among his frustrated company, setting off a roundelay of rivalries, betrayals and backstabbing.


Deepa Mehta: Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria with Satyajit Ray’s Devi

“I could give many reasons for the affinities between (and the greatness of) these films, but mostly it’s how both Fellini and Ray walk the difficult line between reality and the wondrous, and of course the compassion that pours out of them right into their characters.”—Deepa Mehta

Deepa Mehta is the director of Fire, Earth and Water.

Nights of Cabiria
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France 1957
116 min.

Fellini’s wife and muse Giulietta Masina plays Cabiria, an ingenuous prostitute who is tricked, robbed and ridiculed by an assortment of hookers, priests, film stars and sundry other opportunists in Fellini’s vivid portrait of red-light Rome. Through all her travails, Cabiria manages to retain a boundless sense of wonder and yearning, which both renders her vulnerable to the schemes of every shyster and charlatan who comes her way but also makes her immune to their cynicism. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

dir. Satyajit Ray
India 1960
93 min.

Offering a dark mirror image of Masina’s hopeful dreamer Cabiria, Devi concerns a shy young bride who is convinced by her wealthy, deeply religious father-in-law that she is the reincarnation of the goddess Kali. After “miracles” occur, the rest of the village—and the girl herself—comes to believe that she is indeed the goddess returned, even as her incredulous, universityeducated husband tries to dissuade her.


James Schamus: Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit with Dario Argento’s Suspiria

“We tend to cordon off Fellini into an auteur ghetto that separates him from much of Italian and world cinema pop culture. But by pairing Toby Dammit with Suspiria, we can see immediately the debt both Fellini and Argento owe to pulp giallo fiction and movies, blurring the boundaries between high and low that continue to make a full appreciation of Fellini difficult.”

—James Schamus

James Schamus is the screenwriter of The Ice Storm, Ride With the Devil and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Toby Dammit
dir. Federico Fellini
France/Italy 1968
40 min.

Fellini’s wickedly funny and strikingly stylized contribution to the Edgar Allan Poe anthology film Spirits of the Dead transforms the dream world of La Dolce Vita into a nightmare. Terence Stamp plays a soused superstar actor who arrives in a surreal Rome to star in “the world’s first Christian western.” Drifting through parties, press conferences and assorted

fleshpots, the actor is haunted by the recurring appearance of a little girl with a white ball, who might be the Devil incarnate.

dir. Dario Argento
Italy 1977
98 min.

The most celebrated film of giallo maestro Dario Argento follows a young American ballet student (Jessica Harper) who arrives in Germany to study at a famous dance academy. When strange goings-on—including the mysterious death of a former student—awaken her suspicions, she begins to investigate, only to discover that the academy houses a coven of witches with a penchant for human sacrifice.


Frédéric Boyer: Federico Fellini’s City of Women with Frank Perry’s The Swimmer

“Fellini’s lighthearted swipe at male chauvinism and Perry’s disenchanted allegory of bourgeois America offer two distinct but unified incarnations of modern man in Mastroianni and Burt Lancaster, torn between wonder and disillusion as he discovers the world around (and within) him.” — Frédéric Boyer

Frédéric Boyer is Artistic Director of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival.

City of Women
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France 1980
140 min.

In a kind of 8½ Redux, Marcello Mastroianni again plays Fellini’s alter ego as Snàporaz, a middle-aged Everyman who falls asleep on a train and is transported to a world run by militant, man-hating feminists. Fleeing from the female hordes via roller skates, hot air balloon and a giant slide that takes him on a tour of his sexual crushes and conquests, Snàporaz takes refuge in the villa of an insatiable doctor whose wife has devised some interesting uses for telepathy.

The Swimmer
dir. Frank Perry
USA 1968
95 min.

Burt Lancaster brilliantly undermines his star image in this allegorical tale based on a story by John Cheever. On a sunny day in an affluent Connecticut suburb, ad exec Ned Merrill (Lancaster), golden-boy looks still intact in middle age, spontaneously decides to “swim” home by going from pool to pool in his friends’ backyards. As he encounters more and more figures from his past and present, the warm welcomes become bitter recriminations and the darkness of his personal life is slowly revealed.


Molly Haskell: Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni with Barry Levinson’s Diner

“The ‘overgrown calves’ of Fellini’s early masterpiece may be said to have inspired or influenced a whole series of movies about male bonding and arrested adolescence, but none seems as close (or as nearly a classic) as Barry Levinson’s Diner. These nostalgic but clear-eyed portraits of aimless buddies, hanging out and postponing adulthood, were themselves autobiographical rites of passage for their directors as they cast a fond backward glance at small-town adolescence.”

—Molly Haskell

Molly Haskell is the author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies and most recently Frankly, My Dear: “Gone With the Wind” Revisited.

I Vitelloni
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France 1953
103 min.

Fellini turned his memories about growing up in the sleepy seaside town of Rimini into this funny, poignant portrait of five young men stranded between adolescence and adulthood. Financially supported by their families and friends, these “loafers”—including a loose-lipped Lothario, an androgynous joker and a sensitive, would-be writer (Fellini’s alter ego)—spend the windswept Adriatic winter dreaming about life in Rome and Milan, but only one of them is destined to escape.

dir. Barry Levinson
USA 1982
110 min.

A cast of soon-to-be stars—including Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon and the immortal Steve Guttenberg—headline Barry Levinson’s nostalgic coming-of-age tale set in 1959 Baltimore. Emulating the episodic structure of I Vitelloni, the film recounts the reunion of five high-school friends now in their twenties, who have gathered for the imminent wedding of one of the group.


Radley Metzger: Federico Fellini’s The Clowns and Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise

“Both The Clowns and Children of Paradise depict the basic performing artist: the clown and the street performer. In both cases the artist is naked for all the world to see; he has neither elaborate sets nor a script, only himself with which to engage, mystify and edify his audience.” —Radley Metzger

Radley Metzger is the director of Camille 2000, The Lickerish Quartet and The Opening of Misty Beethoven.

The Clowns
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France/Germany 1970
92 min.

Merging autobiography, documentary and pure fantasy, Fellini traces the strange fusion of comedy and tragedy that defines the clown, and tracks down the now elderly clowning veterans whose decrepitude signals the end of an era—until, in the celebrated concluding sequence, Fellini magically resurrects all the greatest clowns in history for a final, phantasmagorical performance.

Children of Paradise (Les enfants du paradis)
dir. Marcel Carné
France 1945
190 min.

Often referred to as France’s Gone With the Wind, this lavish historical romance is set in the early nineteenth century along Paris’ infamous Boulevard du Crime, the nexus of both the city’s criminal underworld and its theatre scene. The film tells a fictionalized version of the lives of the famous mime Jean-Baptiste Debureau (Jean-Louis Barrault), the actor Frédérick Lemaître (Pierre Brasseur) and the notorious criminal Lacenaire (Marcel Herrand), all of whom are in love with the beautiful courtesan Garance (Arletty), who loves each man in her own way.


Piers Handling: Federico Fellini’s Fellini’s Casanova and Hal Ashby’s Shampoo

“Where Fellini’s opulent period piece deploys baroque imagery to paint a dazzling but ultimately grotesque portrait of the obsessive seducer (played by Donald Sutherland), Hal Ashby uses the mumbling charm of Warren Beatty to update the tale. Like Sutherland’s vampiric eighteenth-century pick-up artist, Beatty’s hip L.A. Lothario never knows when enough is enough, or what is actually good for him.” — Piers Handling

Piers Handling is Director & Chief Executive Officer of TIFF.

Fellini’s Casanova
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy 1976
155 min.

Fellini’s fantastical version of the life of the famous lover stars a sardonic Donald Sutherland as the professionally promiscuous dandy, who traverses eighteenth-century Venice and a veritable sea of fleshly delights in search of his ideal woman, but finds in this relentless pursuit of sexual conquest nothing but a grotesque attempt to ward off death.

dir. Hal Ashby
USA 1975
109 min.

A satirical portrait of the L.A. “good life” from an acidic script by Robert Towne, Shampoo stars Warren Beatty (in a remarkably self-lacerating commentary on his image as perennial womanizer) as a Beverly Hills hairdresser who compulsively beds his well-off female clients while using their contacts to try and raise capital for a salon of his own. When he runs into an old girlfriend (Julie Christie), now the mistress of a wealthy Republican Party backer, he becomes caught between two very different kinds of self-interest.


Noah Cowan: Federico Fellini’s Fellini Satyricon with Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane

“Although these two films seem largely connected through their breathtakingly bold homoeroticism, they also share a fascination with ancient times, and the absurdity of trying to bring that age to life on the big screen. Taking the barest of historical suggestions they construct ravishing, complete worlds that also go to great lengths to undermine their own credibility. This self-destructive impulse somehow frees the filmmakers to create fantastical, poetic conceptualizations of life, love and sacrifice that have yet to be equalled.”

—Noah Cowan

Noah Cowan is Artistic Director of TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Fellini Satyricon
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy 1969
127 min.

Loosely based on the ancient narrative by Petronius, Fellini’s glorious bacchanal follows the sexual adventures of two students during the reign of the Emperor Nero. Working their way through ceaseless feasts and orgies, surrounded by capering harpies and hermaphrodites, sex-starved slaves and lechers of every size and sex, the students encounter a world of utter corruption and gorgeous madness in which old men marry babies and food is used for everything but nourishment.

dir. Derek Jarman
UK 1976
86 min.

Jarman’s dazzlingly eccentric recounting of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian was initially banned in Ontario for its wall-towall male nudity and explicit gay sexuality. Despite Jarman’s shock anachronisms (Roman soldiers playing with a Frisbee), deliberately obscurantist language (his all-male, all-nude cast of surfer centurions speak a distinctly earthy, Cockneyinflected Latin), cheekiness and camp sensibility, his Felliniesque fresco is also a serious meditation on the art-historical representations of Sebastian’s martyrdom, a primal scene that was an important touchstone for another gay icon, Yukio Mishima.


Jesse Wente: Federico Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits with Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

“Blending the real and the surreal with its hypnotic and even hallucinogenic visuals, Fellini’s Juliet is an almost trance-like experience that is echoed by Gondry’s dreamscape romance, another vivid trip through a mind fighting against itself.”

—Jesse Wente

Jesse Wente is Head of Film Programmes at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Juliet of the Spirits
dir. Federico Fellini
Italy/France 1965
145 min.

Conceived specifically for Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina, Fellini’s follow-up to 8½ stars Masina as a lonely, meek suburban housewife whose need for love and affection is ignored by her family and friends. When she discovers that her husband is having an affair, she retreats into an alternately liberating and terrifying world of dreamlike memory and erotic fantasy—the latter sparked considerably by her buxom neighbour (Sandra Milo), who leads seaside processions of her admirers and has a luxurious tree house love nest for her many amorous trysts.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
dir. Michel Gondry
USA 2004
108 min.

French fantasist Michel Gondry proves the perfect interpreter of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s far-out conceits in this sci-fitinged romantic comedy-drama. In order to get over his failed relationship with wacky free spirit Clementine (Kate Winslet), dour writer Joel (Jim Carrey) agrees to undergo a memory-erasing procedure. However, when he realizes how central Clementine was to his life, he is forced to go on the psychic lam with her (or rather his memory of her), ducking in and out of a lifetime’s worth of memories as the black hole of forgetting pursues them through his mind.

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