A new flick will suggest what happened when director Federico Fellini vanished for two days in 1957
It is a cinematic mystery surrounding the disappearing act of one of the greatest names in the history of film.
A new flick is set to explore what may have happened when the celebrated Italian flick director Federico Fellini disappeared for 48 hours on his first visit to America, where he was due to attend the Oscar awards.
Instead of a smooth trip to the 1957 ceremony, the man who was to make such classics as La Dolce Vita and 8½ almost missed the awards gala after going missing for two days somewhere in Los Angeles.
Fellini Black and White, to be written and directed by Homeland producer Henry Bromell, and starring Brazilian actor Wagner Moura as Fellini, will suggest the film-maker fell under the spell of Hollywood and America in the 1950s and spent the two days discovering jazz, surfing and romancing a local lover who was a vet.
He then emerged as a changed man who broke with his previous neo-realist style and went on to create his greatest flick hits.
Of course, there is no real evidence for any of that, but Fellini experts are welcoming the project.
"It is a great idea.
He was the sort of guy that used to just get in a cab and go off on a tangent and he had a talent for being in the right place at the right time," said Professor Peter Bondanella, a flick expert at Indiana University and the author of a book on the Italian maestro.
Fellini Black and White is a step in a different direction for Bromell, whose previous flicks include major mainstream Hollywood fare such as the action comedy Get Smart.
But it boasts a strong cast that should go some way to satisfying Fellini fans.
Aside from Moura, it is also set to star William H Macy, Peter Dinklage and Terrence Howard.
Bondanella said Fellini had a clear love of many aspects of America.
"He would have found some place like LA fascinating.
It was a dream factory at that time.
That was what it was all about in those days," he said. But Bondanella added that there was a risk that the new flick could overstate the impact of his experiences across the Atlantic when it came to Fellini's artistic development.
"He had interesting things to say about America.
But the things that I love most about Fellini are really things that make him most Italian," he said. Fellini Black and White is not the only Fellini-linked project currently in the works.
Another eagerly anticipated flick that has just been announced is The Days of Mary, a loose remake of Fellini's Nights of Cabiria.
The flick removes Fellini's central character, a prostitute searching futilely for love in Rome, and replaces her with a young working woman in Reno, Nevada, engaged in the same romantic pursuit.
The main character will be played by Juliette Lewis, famous for numerous high-profile roles, including one half of a serial-killing couple in Oliver Stone's controversial Natural Born Killers.
The two projects reveal a continuing fascination with Fellini, whose flick career spanned almost five decades from the early 1940s to his last film, The Voice of the Moon, which came out just three years before his death in 1990.
Fellini's body of work won five Oscars and was nominated for a dozen more and he became known for a flamboyant cinematic style focused on beautiful and arresting imagery.
The moment from La Dolce Vita where Swedish actress Anita Ekberg bathes fully dressed in the Trevi fountain in Rome has become one of the most famous scenes in flick history.
However, Fellini is also famed for being more popular with flick directors than he is with flick critics and especially with academic flick theorists, though a notable exception is Bondanella.
"Fellini has a reputation for not being intellectual.
There is a side to Fellini that is childlike and adolescent.
But directors see, they don't think.
They love him because he was all about vision and they are not especially interested in what the latest theory might be," he said. Fellini certainly has a legion of ordinary flick fans across the globe.
But that also means that directors seeking to tackle his life or, as in the case of The Days of Mary, remake his works could face a difficult time.
The news that Nights of Cabiria was being given a modern update and put before potential financial backers in this year's Cannes flick festival met with a hostile reception in certain quarters.
"We presume they'll … basically lose everything that made Fellini's original one of his best, and an Oscar winner to boot," wrote flick critic Kevin Jagernauth on the flick blog The Playlist.
He then added furiously: "Hopefully buyers in Cannes will know better than to get involved with this."
Federico FelliniFilm industryOscarsHomelandPaul Harrisguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
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