Section 5

From Sketch to Film: Fellini’s Caricatures

Fellini Forever

“Why do I draw the characters of my films? Why do I take graphic notes of their faces, of the noses, of the moustaches, of the ties, of the bags, of the way to cross the legs, of those people that come to visit me in the office? Perhaps I have already told that it is a way to start watching the film in the face, to see the type it is, the attempt to fix something, even though minuscule, to the limit of the nothingness, but that seems to have something to do with the film, and covertly it speaks to me”

Federico Fellini developed a strong passion for caricature and humorous drawing from a young age. Indeed, when Fellini moved to Rome at the age of 18, it wasn’t for cinema, but to join the editorial staff of Marc’Aurelio, one of the most famous and widespread satirical newspapers of the time. A pivotal moment in his artistic development was his encounter with the caricaturist Nino Za (1906-1996), during a meeting at the Grand Hotel in Rimini. This introduction to the world of caricature profoundly influenced his life and work. Fellini continued to nurture this passion throughout his career, resulting in a cinematic style characterized by grotesque and humorous elements. His artistic background left an indelible mark on his work, contributing to defining his distinctive approach to visual storytelling.

“I keep dabbling with pencils, with colors. At the beginning of a film, all I do is doodle on any white surface, even tablecloths and napkins for graphic notes. It’s a way to get closer to the film, a way to start seeing what the appearance, what the character of my film looks like.”

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