Section 6

The Lion’s Dream in the Cellar: Fellini’s TV Commercial for Banca di Roma

Fellini Forever

“A different language is a different vision of life”

Fellini was very skeptical of advertisement, and he even parodied the language of commercials in Ginger & Fred (1986) and Intervista (1987). However, in his later years he was persuaded to direct five commercials for various clients: Campari, Barilla, and Banca di Roma. They would be his last directorial efforts. The “prestigious” advertising campaign of Banca di Roma in the early 1990s consisted of three subjects. In one of these, the protagonist Paolo Villaggio dreams of his fears from when he was a teenager: the fascinating Dutch neighbor, unreachable because she was too tall; a lion that cries, because the protagonist, despite having grown up, is still fundamentally a child, and therefore his lion remains “locked in the cellar.” The commercial states that all these fears can be conquered thanks to Banca di Roma, which can provide guarantees and confidence for the future. The exhibition includes the lion costume, a preproduction drawing, and set photos. The section “From Sketch to Film” contains an original drawing by Fellini of the lion costume. Outtakes from the all the Banca di Roma commercials can be viewed in the “Moviegoing” section of the exhibition.

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