“There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only an infinite passion for life”.
For the 20th anniversary of Federico Fellini’s death, I found in the very far corner of my drawer “The Journey of G. Mastorna”, the script for the movie Fellini never made.
It’s a short pamphlet, filled with drawings and oniric visions, and it tells the story of Mastorna, a viola player, that becomes the victim of an airplane crash and starts his journey in the afterlife.
Mastorna doesn’t know he is dead and he wonders around this strange town alone, meeting dwarves and prostitutes, cardinals and clowns, unable to understand what is happening behind the thick wall of fog that envelopes the town.
In each movie Fellini had ever made, from I Vitelloni to La Voce della Luna, you can find a piece of Mastorna here and there, a glimpse of the story that never came to light as a perpetual and recurring presence in every shot Fellini had filmed in his lifetime. It is so present that you can tell who Mastorna is and you can follow his path throughout La Dolce Vita and 8 ½, Amarcord and Roma.
Federico Fellini (left) and Marcello Mastroianni (right)
courtesy of CineCittà 2
There’s a film, I mean the idea, the feeling, the suspicion of a film I have been carrying in my mind for fifteen years and has still not allowed me to get close enough to, trusted me enough, for me to understand what it wants. At the end of every film I make, there it is again, apparently claiming that now it’s his turn; it stays with me for some time, studies me a little, and then disappears. I’m relieved every time it goes away: it’s too serious, committed, uncompromising, not like me at all, who knows which of us would be willing to change. Now that I think about it I’ve never done so much as a sketch for this film, a scrawl; clearly when he makes up his mind he’ll tell me in a different way.
Sometimes I even get the idea that it isn’t a film at all, but something else which I’m not yet able to understand, and then it frightens me a little, but I’m immediately comforted by the idea that probably, for me, the film is a pilot, in the sense that it is some sort of bizarre spiritual guide, ushering in other stories, other imaginings; and, in point of fact, when it goes away, unfailingly it leaves me with the film I’m going to make next.
If you wish to take a journey in Fellini’s mind, you can find the Mastorna script in your local bookstore as it has recently been translated in English. Then, take a stroll at the Barbican in London on November 22nd for a tribute to Nino Rota, the pianist that composed all the film scores for Fellini’s movies.