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Federico Fellini as Auteur

Federico Fellini as Auteur

Seven Aspects of His Films

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John C. Stubbs


E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
6 x 9, 16 illustrations


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About the Book

Federico Fellini as Auteur: Seven Aspects of His Films offers a comprehensive auteurist study of the renowned Italian director. Film scholar John C. Stubbs dispenses with a traditional film-career review of the man and instead organizes his discussion of Fellini’s films into seven categories. The volume focuses retrospectively on the key elements of the filmmaker’s style, the influence of Carl Jung and dreams, the autobiographical depiction of childhood and adolescence, the portrait of the artist, the filmmaker’s working relationship with his wife, Fellini’s comic strategies, and his adaptation of works by others. Each of the aspects is fully contextualized.

The study explores Fellini’s narrative form and visual presentation, includes materials from his dream notebooks and dream-related film scenes, and examines the fictionalized autobiography, contending that the filmmaker created an “autobiographical legend” of himself and then filmed the legend. Drawing on a wide range of materials, including documents written in Italian and largely unavailable to English-language scholars, Stubbs details the collaborative relationship Fellini had with his wife, actress Giulietta Masina. He focuses on the creative tension between director and actress, which contributed to the effective portrayal of Masina’s two predominant characters, the waif and the betrayed wife.

Stubbs also outlines comic strategies in the Fellini films, concentrating on the later comedies about groups, such as clowns, orchestra members, and opera singers. He conversely addresses that which is tragic, suggesting that in adapting the work of others Fellini was drawn to writers who dealt with decadence and madness. These discussions and a focus on Fellini’s Casanova and The Voice of the Moon comprise a valedictory essay on the Fellini films.

Federico Fellini as Auteur, which includes sixteen illustrations, is unburdened by jargon and accessible to film scholars and students of all levels. This examination of the critical elements in Fellini films offers a notable contribution to a better understanding of the artistry that is uniquely Fellini.


John C. Stubbs, a former Fulbright lecturer in Italy, is a professor of English and film studies at Virginia Tech. He is the author of three books, including two dealing with Fellini, and has published articles on Fellini and other filmmakers in Cinema Journal and Literature/Film Quarterly.


“Federico Fellini as Auteur adds new and important criticism to the literature on the filmmaker. Where John C. Stubbs does not follow the tradition of the one film/one chapter format employed by most auteur authors, he opens wide the discussion on interesting topics. Here, Stubbs shines and provides analysis that no other scholar has done better or more thoroughly. When he is good, he is very good, and his sensitivity to the nuances of Fellini’s films is admirable: no trendy jargon, just good, honest criticism that makes the reader see Fellini in a new light.” —Peter Bondanella, author of The Films of Federico Fellini