We need to put the thirst back in design professionals to be aware, appreciative and understand art. So my Thursday posts are going to be about the artists who inspired me. Today it is Cinema as an artform.

Religion, fantasy, baroque, renaissance art references, irreverence and deep satire when blended well makes this master’s cinema. Federico Fellini is one of the influential filmmakers of our time.

My first Fellini was Amarcord and I was besotted. It is an autobiographical ‘coming of age’ movie set in an interesting slice of small town Italy around the Fascist regime and later. The theater, depth of character and the overall intrigue of every anecdotal episode were overwhelming and familiar for me. I grew up in a small town in South India centered on the temple, religion, and pilgrims. It had its share of characters quite similar to those in Amarcord. The pompous teacher, the blind singer, the streetwalker in the fringes, all woven into stories against the backdrop of seasons, events and rebellion that mark the passing of time. And that is why I fell in love with the films of Federico Fellini. The video below is a trailer for this fabulous movie.

Later I saw 23 of his films in a month-long retrospective event in Delhi. The movies like La Dolce Vita, Juliet of the Spirits, Il Casanova or Satyricon had frames that resonate renaissance art with exaggerated perspectives, chiaroscuro, flattened symmetry in compositions along with the embellishments, costumes, and involved production design. They also had a scale that was larger than life and a World that is unique. I can wax eloquent about the city as the muse in La Dolce Vita or hiding Hieronymus Bosch in Satyricon. But this post will get too long to sustain your interest.

In Roma, his homage to the city that he loves, Fellini introduces us to the fashion show in Vatican that is an irreverent satire with references to Velazquez and Francis Bacon. Watch this clip below.

Fellini has inspired many creative artists with his experiments in expressions of nostalgia, sexuality, religion and politics across all his films. He remains the unequivocal emperor of this magical art called cinema. You can read more about him here.