Fellini and the shadow

original title:

Fellini e l'ombra


Claudia de Oliveira Teixeira, Gianfranco Angelucci, Peter Ammann, Gérald Morin, Caterina Cardona, Nora Trevi, Paolo Aite, Christian Gaillard, Jost Hoerni



Italy / Switzerland



film run:





In post-production (30/04/2021)

A young foreign director (Claudia) is preparing a film on the connection between the life and work of Federico Fellini and the world of dreams as illuminated by Jungian Analytical Psychology.
Through reading Fellini’s The Book of Dreams and other autobiographical texts, Claudia internalises and weaves together the fragments of a dialogue between Fellini’s feminine interior voice – the Anima - and the Shadow of his unconscious.
The stages of this investigation into what lies hidden beneath Fellini’s public image as the worldwide acclaimed genius of cinema leads our protagonist to Rome and the various locations associated with Fellini. It also leads her to Ernst Bernhard, the therapist who introduced the director to the work of C. G. Jung. Locations include Cinecittà’s famous Teatro 5 (Fellini’s favourite soundstage, the place where he felt most truly at home and the cradle of all his films). In Rimini, Claudia explores the places where Fellini spent his childhood – places which he would go on to recreate in so many of his films. In Switzerland, she follows in the footsteps of his pilgrimage to Jung’s towerhouse at Bollingen, on the shores of Lake Zurich, and the museum of the Fellini Foundation in Sion.
Fellini’s collaborator and lifelong friend Gianfranco Angelucci acts as co-protagonist guiding Claudia on her journey. She also meets other expert witnesses who will provide her with the keys to enter the labyrinth of Fellini’s dreams.
To these materials Claudia adds her own animations which evoke Fellini’s sessions with his analyst, Dr Bernhard, and illustrate his dream visions. In a visual and musical counterpoint, the symbols of Fellini’s imagination emerge in all their mysterious power: the dark sea, creatures from the deep, the fog, clouds reached by hot air balloons and airships, underground caves guarded by monsters, the belly of the whale in Casanova, the head of the gigantic divinity sinking into the Venetian lagoon. Included are also the children, the clowns and the diametrically opposed and irreconcilable female figures: pure souled innocents and gigantic goddesses of the primordial eros.
In the magical darkness of Cinecittà’s greatest soundstage, Teatro 5, Claudia feels almost dizzy. This is the Dreamer-Director’s cave of apparitions. In the silence and with the help of the crew, Claudia recreates archetypal images from Fellini’s work: a series of white sheets are suspended, onto these light and shadows are projected, the dazzling black and white evoking the ghosts and figures springing from the feminine and childlike part of his unconscious. The silhouette of a dancing Gelsomina – the unforgettable protagonist of La Strada - appears and gradually transforms into Cabiria, Giulietta and Ginger, the other female characters embodied in his films by Giulietta Masina, actor, muse and life-long companion.
The film, therefore, is constructed out of Claudia’s journey through the mystery of Fellini’s creative imagination, interspersed with animations, drawings of his dreams and sequences from his films, all accompanied by the music of Nino Rota. An investigation that explores the hidden relationship between the fears and obsessions of Fellini the man, the recurring symbols and archetypes in his dreams and the extraordinary power of the images of his films, in which he always revealed himself with absolute sincerity, and in the belief that dreams are the true reality