Fellini’s Films and Commercials (Book)

From Postwar to Postmodern

An updated edition of renowned Fellini scholar Frank Burke’s film-by-film analysis of the famed director’s work, with a new preface and a new chapter on Fellini’s commercials. Written from a theoretical perspective, Burke explores Fellini’s movement from relatively classic filmmaking to modernist reflexivity to ‘postmodern reproduction’.


Federico Fellini’s distinct style delighted generations of film viewers and inspired filmmakers and artists around the world. In Fellini’s Films and Commercials: From Postwar to Postmodern, renowned Fellini scholar Frank Burke presents a film-by-film analysis of the famed director’s cinematic output from a theoretical perspective. The book explores Fellini’s movement from relatively classic filmmaking to modernist reflexivity and then to ‘postmodern reproduction’. Burke moves from analysis of stories told from a relatively ‘objective’ standpoint, to increased concentration on Fellini-as-author and on the cinematic apparatus, to Fellini’s dismantling of authorship and cinematic apparatus, to his postmodern signifying strategies. Grounded in poststructuralist approaches to texts and signification, Burke shows that Fellini is profoundly readable, if extremely complex.

Revisiting Burke’s 1996 Fellini’s Films: From Postwar to Postmodern, this new edition includes revised material from the original, plus a new preface and new chapter on the filmmaker’s work on commercials. Elegantly written and thoroughly researched, this book is essential reading for Fellini fans and scholars.

Frank Burke is professor emeritus at Queen’s University at Kingston in Ontario, Canada. He is the author and editor of several books, including Federico Fellini: Variety Lights To La Dolce Vita, the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Italian Cinema and (with Marguerite Waller and Marita Gubareva) the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Federico Fellini.

Preface and Acknowledgements to the 2020 Edition

Preface and Acknowledgements to the 1996 Edition

Chapter One: Fellini in Context

Chapter Two: Individuation Denied: Variety Light to Il Bidone

Chapter Three: Individuation and 'Creative Negation': Nights of Cabiria and La Dolce Vita

Chapter Four: Film about Film and Modernist Self-Reflexivity: The Temptation of Dr. Antonio

Chapter Five: 8½, Juliet of the Spirits, and Toby Dammit

Chapter Six: The Individual in Crisis from to Fellini- Satyricon

Chapter Seven: The Individuation of Art versus Character: Fellini-Satyricon and The Clowns

Chapter Eight: Art and Individuality Dissolved: Roma, Amarcord, and Orchestra Rehearsal

Chapter Nine: Postmodern Reproduction: Fellini’s Casanova to Intervista (and La Dolce Vita Revisited)

Chapter Ten: The Voice of the Moon

Chapter Eleven: Fellini's Commercials

Chapter Twelve: Politics, Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation

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