When I became aware of Fellini’s work during my late teens, I was a neophyte book-a-zine designer for Evergreen Review. We were publishing a story on his 1970 film the clowns. It was not, I later learned, his best (and I never could tolerate circus clowns anyway), but it was an experience. Every Fellini project was an experience — from his heart-rending dramas to his farcical autobiographies to his neo-realist commentaries. My favorite is amarcord, a self-portrait of sorts Fellini's youth, living in the ancient sea city of Rimini during 1930s Fascist Italy, filled with unforgettably surreal and hyper-real beautiful and bizarre characters many with marvelously sculpted faces. juliet of the spirits rates high too, as do la strada, 8½, roma, and yes, even satyricon, among his more debauched satiric-erotics.
Fellini was an illustrator and cartoonist. Every frame of his films was storyboarded. Do illustrators make the best filmmakers? Maybe. Just maybe they do. Fellini claims that honor. In any case, although I cannot say for certain, I’m pretty sure Fellini would be happy on his 100th birthday to see so many illustrators and designers paying tribute to him in this way.
steven heller, New York City, Summer 2020