Luci del varietà (Variety Lights). 1950. Italy. Directed by Federico Fellini, Alberto Lattuada. Screenplay by Fellini, Alberto Lattuada, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano. With Giulietta Masina, Peppino De Filippo, Carla Del Poggio. 4K digital restoration. In Italian; English subtitles. 97 min.
Fellini’s directorial debut is a collaboration with the more senior Alberto Lattuada, for whom he had served as a screenwriter. While their division of labor on this film, about an itinerant vaudeville troupe, remains unclear, it is in every way Felliniesque, introducing viewers to what would become Fellini’s longstanding fascination with the rowdy, carnivalesque world of show business. It also marks the beginning of his collaboration with wife and muse Giulietta Masina, who plays a vulnerable yet resilient matriarch of a struggling performance group heartbroken by her charismatic partner’s affair with a young dancer.