Section 7

Il Casanova di Federico Fellini: A Canadian Icon in Cinecittà

Fellini Forever

“A man who never speaks ill of women does not love them. For to understand them and to love them one must suffer at their hands. Then and only then can you find happiness at the lips of your beloved”

At the time of its release, Il Casanova di Federico Fellini (1976) was one of the most anticipated films of all time, as Fellini and the Venetian sybarite seemed like the perfect pairing. But the Maestro defied expectations by interpreting Casanova’s memoirs not as a luscious string of sensual encounters, but as the mortifying delusions of a profoundly melancholic figure. Moving away from the stereotype of a Mediterranean “latin” lover, for the titular role Fellini cast the tall and lean Donald Sutherland. The Canadian actor delivered one of his finest screen performances, giving unexpected depth to a character that Fellini and screenwriter Bernardino Zapponi had deliberately designed as flatly bidimensional. Included in this exhibition are designs of the sets built in Cinecittà, photographs from the shoot, and a poster for the film. On view in the “Moviegoing” section is footage of Alberto Sordi’s humorous “audition” for the film, in which Fellini and his friend and collaborator (Lo sceicco bianco, I vitelloni) toy with the idea of the actor playing a middle-aged, clumsy Casanova.

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