La Strada (1954)
The White Sheik (1952)
I Vitelloni (1953)
La Strada (1954)
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
The White Sheik (1952)

Film Studies

Early Maestro: The Cinema of Federico Fellini

Fellini: The Journey Begins
4 Thursdays, March 21 to April 11, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Maurizio Giammarco, Ph.D., Temple University

A ringmaster whose circus was the human comedy, Federico Fellini combined surreal carnival with social criticism to explore such themes as spiritual redemption, societal decadence, the interplay between life and art, and the mystery of identity. Along the way, he fashioned a new screen “language” that integrated realistic plots with evocative symbols in the manner of James Joyce and Marcel Proust. This course will begin with Fellini’s neorealist apprenticeship during the post-WWII period, when Italian filmmakers captured the anguish of the poor and dispossessed through documentary-style filmmaking.  

Throughout the ‘50s, Fellini would create a series of brilliant works: The White Sheik (1951), a charming satire about the lure—and danger—of fantasy, following a newlywed couple with separate dreams that they keep secret from each other; I Vitelloni (1953), a trenchant portrait of five young men in post-adolescent limbo who dream of freedom and escape from their small coastal town; La Strada (1954), a philosophical parable about a gentle young woman who becomes companion to a brutish strongman, which achieved worldwide popularity and launched Fellini and wife-collaborator Giulietta Masina to international attention; and Nights of Cabiria (1957), a poignant drama following a fiercely independent sex worker (Masina again) navigating the denizens of Roman society while dealing with adversity and heartbreak. With these last two films, Fellini signals a movement away from neorealism and toward a more symbolic aesthetic.  

Join us, then, as we explore the rich frescoes, indelible characters, and absorbing narratives in these films made significant by the imagination of a cinematic maestro.   

Course Information

$100 for members, $140 for non-members


  • Thursday, March 21 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 28 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 4 · 6:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 11 · 6:30 pm

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