This Halloween will mark the 20 year anniversary of the death of one of the world's most beloved film directors, Federico Fellini. Fellini died on October 31, 1993, in a Rome hospital after suffering a stroke 2 months earlier. Fellini's final film "The Voice of the Moon", was released in 1990, and, partly due to negative reviews from the American press, when it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival, it never found a US distributer. This snub aside, the Maestro, as he was fondly called in his native Italy, left behind a vast archive of work that is highly regarded amongst film cognoscenti and lay people alike. One of the most renowned of Fellini's films is the 1954 neorealist masterpiece, "La Strada". The film starred his wife of 50 years, Giulietta Masina, as a naive waif who is sold by her mother to a traveling strongman. It is a work that Fellini referred to as "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever."
The film went on to become "one of the most influential films ever made", according to the American Film Institute, and has inspired people of every discipline, from the current Pope in Rome to Bob Dylan. That Fellini's influence is still felt today is hardly a surprise, considering the universal themes his films explored; every human condition from birth, childhood, career, faith, marriage, old age and death were covered in his films. In his 1987 "documentary", "Intervista", which loosely focused on a Japanese TV crew following the Maestro around his beloved Cinecitta as he makes a film, an aged Marcello Mastroianni pays a visit to an equally aged Anita Ekberg at her house outside Rome. In the scene, the two sit together and watch their famous moment from 1960's "La Dolce Vita", where Ekberg dances, in a long black gown, in Rome's Trevi Fountain as Mastroianni, young and elegant, follows her like an enraptured puppy. The two elderly stars watch their younger selves with a mist of tears, as the young fans who have joined them for this reunion cheer for them.
A small piece of Fellini's history was set to be told in a film that has been in development for a few years now, written, and to be directed by "Homeland" Executive Producer, Henry Bromell. The story is a fictional imagining of what happened during the 48 hours that Fellini went missing when he visited the United States for the first time, to attend the Academy Awards in 1957. The title of the film is "Fellini Black and White", and the Brazilian actor, Wagner Moura, was signed to play the Maestro. Nina Arianda, one of the stars of Broadway's "Venus in Fur", was signed to play Fellini's long suffering wife, Masina. Bromell passed away, at 65, in March, 2013, and there are no further details available on the non-pro IMDB as to the status of production.
There is good news, however, on the Fellini front. The singer/songwriter/artist, Pal Shazar, has published "Pal Shazar's La Strada", a collection of 42 paintings, inspired by the 1954 film, that brings to colorful life all the pathos of the director's masterpiece. The book will be released this Thursday at a special musical performance by the artist at The Living Room on Ludlow Street. Shazar, and the guitarist Reg Hunt, who also designed the book's layout, will perform a set of Shazar's original songs. The book will be available for sale at the show, and the artist will sign copies after her performance. A black and white film that starred, in addition to Masina, Anthony Quinn, as Zampano, the strongman, and Richard Baseheart, as The Fool, is given a new incarnation in this beautifully reproduced limited edition art book.
This will be Shazar's final appearance at The Living Room, a music venue that has been at the forefront of New York City's highly influential singer/songwriter scene. The Living Room will be closing its doors at the end of January, after 10 years at 154 Ludlow Street, and will relocate to downtown Manhattan in Spring 2014. Shazar's performance is Thursday, October 24th, at 8:30 PM.
The Living Room
154 Ludlow Street
New York, NY 10002
212 533 7235