Federico Fellini: Contemporary Perspectives

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Frank Burke, Marguerite R. Waller
University of Toronto Press, 2002 - Performing Arts - 239 pages
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Federico Fellini remains the best known of the postwar Italian directors. This collection of essays brings Fellini criticism up to date, employing a range of recent critical filters, including semiotic, psychoanalytical, feminist and deconstructionist. Accordingly, a number of important themes arise - the reception of fascism, the crisis of the subject, the question of agency, homo-eroticism, feminism, and constructions of gender.

Since the early 1970s, a slide in critical and theoretical attention to Fellini's work has corresponded with an assumption that his films are self-indulgent and lacking in political value. This volume moves the discussion towards a politics of signification, contending that Fellini's evolving self-reflexivity is not mere solipsism but rather a critique of both aesthetics and signification. The essays presented here are almost all new - the two exceptions being important signifiers in Fellini studies. The first, Frank Burke's "Federico Fellini: Reality/Representation/Signification" laid the foundation in the late 1980s for considering Fellini's work in the light of postmodernism. The second, Marguerite Waller's "Whose Dolce Vita is this Anyway?: The Language of Fellini's Cinema" (1990), provides a contemporary re-reading of Fellini's most successful film.

This lively and ambitious collection brings a new critical language to bear on Fellini's films, offering fresh insights into their underlying issues and meaning. In bringing Fellini criticism up to date, it will have a significant impact on film studies, reclaiming this important director for a contemporary audience.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
RealismRepresentationSignification
26
Fellini and the Circus
47
The Hollow Phallus the Male Womb
65
When in Rome Do As the Romans Do? Federico Fellinis
92
Whose Dolce vita Is This Anyway? The Language
107
Toby Dammit Intertext and the End of Humanism
121
Variations on the Libidinal Limbo
137
Linguistic Strategies in Fellinis
155
Postmodern Simulation Meets
169
Fellini Interviews Kafka Intervista
188
Deconstructing Femininity
209
Selected Bibliography
233
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About the author (2002)

Frank Burke is Professor of Film Studies at Queen's University. Marguerite R. Waller is Professor of English and Women's Studies, University of California, Riverside.

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