Italians live a
king-sized life. Wild gestures, exuberant proclamations of love,
and a lust for life – the Italian spirit is best expressed in
maestro Federico Fellini’s cinematic masterpieces. One of the
world’s most renowned filmmakers, Fellini’s work is unabashedly
Italian, narrating stories of provincial and urban characters
with poignancy and insight.
Fellini captured a raw humanistic element in his portrayals of
typical Italian life. His films, no matter what the subject,
have a carnival-like atmosphere. The Italy that Fellini
portrayed was in the clutches of fascism, and life was nothing
like a carnival. But his over-the-top and optimistic
storytelling belied the horrors that the second world war
created and left behind. Instead the audience is treated to a
cast of lovable characters in picturesque settings, entertaining
us with their loves, lives and laughter.
If the Italian zest for life stems from anything, it’s their
food. It’s the one cuisine that
has made its way around the world in the form of pizza, pasta
and gelato in hotel restaurants. Rich, tangy, fresh, and bursting with flavour, an
Italian dish is easily comparable to Fellini’s films. Food
stands for more than just sustenance for Fellini. In real life,
he was a true connoisseur, revelling in daily meals of
antipasti, spaghetti, ravioli, veal, potatoes, chard, salad,
fruit, coffee and of course wine.
In the semi-autobiographical film, Fellini's Roma Indie & Art House Comedy Movies & TV),
Fellini charts the progress of a young man moving from his
native village to the bigger city of Rome. Themes of modern
alienation abound, but it is Fellini’s open enthusiasm that
takes centre stage, even if it expresses itself ironically. It
is a strangely sensual film that’s wonderfully portrayed by the
images of the many characters constantly gorging themselves on
Food becomes a political expression in
Fellini’sNights of Cabiria.
It’s a poignant film
about an innocent prostitute in a squalid area in Rome. There is
a scene that was actually inspired by real life, when Fellini
once spotted a man distributing food to the poor. However, the
Church forced Fellini to cut it from the film, since it was
thought that only the priests should be doing such work.
The most evocative and memorable food scene is from one of
Fellini’s lesser known works,
Satyricon.It’s a wild fantasy tale, about two men
travelling across the Roman Empire. It’s a surreal explosion of
senses, which is best portrayed in one of cinema’s most
effective pictures of food. A massive banquet is laid out. A new
cook has roasted a whole pig but forgotten to gut it. It’s
gutted immediately, sausages and intestines spilling out in
The Romans did have a penchant for the exotic - larks' tongues,
pikes' livers, cocks' crests were regular features in ancient
Roman banquets. Today’s spread is a lot more sedate – platters
of antipasti, delicious sauces for pastas, fresh salads dripping
with aromatic oils and of course gallons of wine. Pastas and
pizzas are just the tip of the iceberg – Italy’s regional
mind-boggling and equally delicious.
Let Fellini inspire you to live an Italian-sized life, served
with love and joie de vivre.