Slobodan Jovanović
Art Historian, Museum of Applied Art, Belgrade


Journal 4/5/2008/2009 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 99-107

791:766(497.11) ; 791.633-051:929 Фелини Ф.

Abstract (original language):
Tri plakata za filmove Federika Felinija, koji se čuvaju u zbirci Odseka za savremenu primenjenu umetnost Muzeja primenjene umetnosti u Beogradu, predstavljaju komunikacije umetničkih ideja izraženih u filmovima čuvenog italijanskog reditelja. Na svim plakatima primarna je predstava odnosa između glavnih junaka pojedinog filma – nasilničkog muškog i tragi-čnog ženskog lika. Ovakvom prezentacijom likova, posmatrač se neposredno uvodi u osnovne tematske okvire Felinijevih filmova.

Key words: (original language)
film, plakat, Federiko Felini, Đulijeta Mazina, autobiografija, sadomazohizam, trauma, proto pop-art figuracija

Within its collection of posters and graphic design works, in the fund of feature films posters the Contemporary Applied Art Department of the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade houses three posters designed for feature films of Federico Fellini (1920-1993): La Strada (1954), Inv. No. 6327; Le Notti di Cabiria (1957), Inv. No. 3715; and 8 ½ (1963), Inv. No. 5781. Fellini received Best Foreign Film Academy Awards (Oscar) for work on these films as well as for his Amarcord (1973).

Films Le Notti di Cabiria, La Strada and 8 ½ represent visual metaphors for the inability of the main woman characters to be free and this is achieved either by Fellini's neo - realistic method as in La Strada, surrealistic one as in 8 ½, or even as fusion of these two methods as in Le Notti di Cabiria. The pose Cabiria's body takes on the poster for Le Notti di Cabiria implies her subordinance to Oscar while neurotic expression on his face suggests the tragic end of the film. The poster as does the film itself combines two fundamental psychological motifs – that of Eros and of Thanatos. La Strada is a story of Zampanò and Gelsomina, of a street entertainer and his assistant. It is exactly that inability to feel free that forces Gelsomina not to leave Zampanò in spite of his physical and sexual harassment. According to Bataille “eroticism opens path to death” at least when the eroticism of body as “violence against the very being of the partner” is concerned. By suppressing the Eros, i.e. by denying the normal sexual and romantic liaison with Gelsomina, Zampanò is subdued by the negative psychological impulse which finally wins over. The relation master-servant is established on all the three posters in the first place by positioning of the main characters.

Poster for the film 8 ½ indicates that the film embodies certain characteristics of Fellini's handwriting, unusual for the remaining film production of the period. Surrealistic combination of main characters, Guido and Claudia, suggests a sexual and perverse relation between Eros and Thanatos which ends in dominance of the negative psychological impulse. The scene of Guido swinging a whip emphasizes the sadistic relation existing between the main character and women in his life. In the first part of the film Claudia's character is just a phantasm of Guido – she appears only twice and without entering a dialogue with him; her role develops into dramatic one only at the end of the film. On the other hand, the melancholic body position and face expression of Claudia indicate the vulnerability of female characters in the film 8 ½. Having brought Guido and Claudia into a unique sado-masochistic relation the designer of the poster successfully defined relation between the main characters of the film. Similarly to the Le Notti di Cabiria and La Strada poster for 8 ½ joins the two actors although in the film itself there is no single frame in which they would take these positions, wear such costumes, not even the set is the same as the one existing in the film. The author of the poster evidently wished to establish dramatic relation between the two characters and by this to introduce the plot scheme with a sado-masochistic or tragic and dramatic imbroglio.

Taken as a whole these posters represent means of communication between the director, media and the public using two graphical dimensions to exemplify director's idea. The film posters for La Strada, Le Notti di Cabiria and 8 ½ bring closer the current understanding of male-female relations in our society in the same way as the mentioned films illustrate models of these relations prevailing in the period. Rating figures of Fellini's films were very high and part of the success was certainly due to the creators of posters which graphically translated onto paper the ideas and messages of his films.

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