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Made in collaboration with neorealist filmmaker Alberto Lattuada, Federico Fellini’s directorial debut unfolds amid the colorful backdrop of a traveling vaudeville troupe whose quixotic impresario (Peppino De Filippo) is tempted away from his faithful, long-suffering girlfriend (Giulietta Masina) by the charms of an ambitious young dancer (Carla Del Poggio) who at first seems to be a naïve country girl, only to reveal herself as a shrewdly calculating temptress prepared to do anything to succeed.
“Wonderful … Variety Lights literally glows … it ranks with some of Fellini’s best work.” – Jeffrey Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
With a plot bearing a striking resemblance to All About Eve (released the same year), this lively backstage capriccio is unmistakably Felliniesque in its whimsical fascination with the heightened reality, carnivalesque characters, and exotic allure of the world of show business. In the first of her celebrated collaborations with her director husband, Giulietta Masina displays the spirited vulnerability that would soon become an archetype of cinematic emotiveness. (Dir. by Federico Fellini & Alberto Lattuada, 1950, Italy, in Italian with English subtitles, 97 mins., Not Rated)