The theatre number 5 pavilion in the Cinecittà film studio in Rome is Italian director Federico Fellini’s sanctuary. The concrete walls have contained artificial seas, carnivals of souls and waking hallucinations. Modern troubadours, fortune-tellers, circus performers, vagrants, Marcello Mastroianni and a host of other actors have left their mark here. The walls have held various worlds and several Fellini films. To celebrate the centenary of the director’s birth (1920–1993), this documentary takes us behind the scenes of Fellini’s creative process.
Television director Ferruccio Castronuovo has documented Fellini’s filmmaking for ten years. This has included the making of Fellini’s Casanova (1976), City of Women (1980), And the Ship Sails On (1983) and Ginger and Fred (1986). Not trusting journalists’ willingness to listen, or that he wouldn’t repeat himself, Fellini gave Castronuovo’s camera carte blanche allowing it to capture everything it saw. Fellini’s guest soon encountered something resembling the satire Interview (1987): for Fellini, reality is born out of imaginative truths.