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For fans of Federico Fellini, this new 15-disc box-set is the equivalent of a mouthwatering plate of spaghetti and a glass of the very best wine.

It’s a fantastic voyage into the world of Fellini, who was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, receiving an honorary Oscar in 1993 “in recognition of his cinematic accomplishments that have thrilled and entertained audiences worldwide.”

Eleven of his films have been restored by The Criterion Collection, the gold standard for box sets. Criterion not only makes the films look brand spanking new; they also offer plenty of extras, including two feature length documentaries, two illustrated books, six audio commentaries, eight behind-the-scenes interviews and a few dozen essays by Bilge Ebiri, Michael Almereyda, Stephanie Zacharek, and more. Let’s dive in, shall we?

I Vitelloni

Fellini’s first masterpiece. This ineffably poignant, semi autobiographical reverie unleashed the director’s poetic/realist style, echoed perfectly in a shot of the five men at the pier, shrouded in mist and waiting for something, anything, to come along and take them away.

La Strada

Before anyone added an “esque” to his name, there was a time when Fellini was just some guy who made a couple of movies and wrote a couple of screenplays. Then came La Strada and everything changed. One of the most influential films of the 1950’s (it won an Oscar in 1956), La Strada gave Fellini an international audience and paved the way for his more fantastical works down the road.

La Dolce Vita

The flying statue of Jesus, hovering over Rome in a helicopter; Anite Ekberg, sensuously traipsing in the Trevi Fountain; the final shot of Marcello on the beach at dawn, looking back at the life he left behind. It’s so easy to remember La Dolce Vita for its iconic scenes, or the impact it had on the movie industry, that you can forget just how moving it really is. With its endless processions of the grand, the fantastic, the jaded and the young and beautiful, it’s quite possibly the most intoxicating movie ever made. But it’s what happens after that intoxication wears off, when all that’s left is Macrcello and his future, that makes it the most moving.

8 1/2

How’s this for an elevator pitch: A director makes a movie about a director making a movie about a director making a movie. Is it movie Inception? Or is it a brilliant examination of the creative process? Why not both? Marcello Mastrionni plays Guido (Fellini’s muse), the famous film director who runs into writer’s block, and yet the film itself is a vivid storehouse of ideas and memories and inspirations. No director has been as personal or vulnerable as Fellini is here–he taps into his past, his dreams, his quirks, faults and failures, to find the meaning in the madness of life.

Amarcord

A ravishing memory film in which reminisce, rumor, warmth and sexual fantasy flow into one another with ease and grace, Amarcord is a movie made entirely out of nostalgia. And puffballs!

Also included: Variety Lights, The White Sheik, Il Bidone, Intervista, Satyricon, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits, Roma, and And the Ship Sails On.

LA Weekly