Ringmaster and Clown: Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

Most directors are content to Xerox the world. Federico Fellini created his own world on film, and it has taken the rest of us a lifetime to appreciate the acuity of his vision.

In La Dolce Vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963), Amarcord (1974) and 20 other films, overripe images spilled out of his cornucopia: clowns and courtesans, prelates and zealots, overripe creatures from a fantast's bestiary. At first they looked like outrageous cartoons of sensuality and sacrilege. But long before his death last week at 73, from complications after a stroke, it was clear they were previews of a moral system...

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