USA / Italy, 1970 (MIFF 1971, Programme 20)
Director: Gideon Bachmann
”Fellini says: ‘Reality does not exist. The artist invents it.' I believe it exists. We must live in it. and interpret it. With this film I wanted to experiment: interpret while I was inventing. It is called Ciao, Federico! because I must say good-bye to this kind of film-making. For me, the cinema is a means of participating in my epoch. The reality I hope to have interpreted, is Fellini himself. But even this reality may only be one of his inventions.”
Gideon Bachmann, director of Ciao, Federico!
A personal friend of Federico Fellini's for 15 years, Bachmann followed the Italian director step-by-step for seven months during the making of Satyricon.
While presenting a portrait of Fellini, the film also probes the question of social responsibility within the act of creation. Thus two films unfold - Fellini's and Bachmann's. We see Fellini at work; creating, directing, coaching actors, screaming at technicians and alternatively joking with the crew.
Employing an anecdotal structure, Bachmann creates a vivid image of Fellini, painting a personality taken up with its own game, articulated in many varieties of action. The many records of directors at work will be fine archive and art material and this adds to it in putting a renowned film-maker on film even if it is as fragile, oblique, seemingly quaint, self-indulgent and artificial as many aspects of Fellini's own pictures.
Mosk in Variety
Ciao, Federico! does not attempt to explain Fellini. It has no intention of being a documentary. Much more: it is a witness account of the relationship between cinema and life, the artist and his creation.
Zeender in Journal de Geneve
Entertaining, fascinating, varied, suggestive, but above all bitter.... But it is not moralising, even if his (Bachmann's) lens irreverently digs into the folds of the face of the great myth.