Take that to the bank


In 1993, Fellini directed a series of ads for the Bank of Rome. In each, a man experiences a puzzling and upsetting dream, which he reports to his analyst (Fernando Rey — who better? That experience with Bunuel must surely have rubbed off). The analyst interprets the dream as having to do with a fear of financial insecurity, and suspiciously enough recommends the Bank of Rome. Is he getting kickbacks from the bank?

This one is discussed by Fellini’s sound engineers in the excellent documentary THE MAGIC OF FELLINI. They track-laid a whole complex set of effects for the oncoming train. The maestro looked, listened, and said “No!” He had them strip it all back and overlay just a cold, whistling wind, rather to their astonishment. They shouldn’t have been surprised — FF relied upon the chilling effect of wind FX throughout his career, particularly when creating a dreamlike atmosphere.

Prosthetic lion! I do hope it’s a Carlo Rambaldi creation. Who else are you going to get to manufacture a lion that weeps glycerin tears, if you’re in Italy? Well, maybe whoever made the vaguely animatronic rhino for AND THE SHIP SAILS ON, I suppose.

The nice thing here is the echoing of transport distress from EIGHT AND A HALF, TOBY DAMMIT and ROMA.

These were Fellini’s last works — he died within a few months of shooting the third one. File them with Frankenheimer’s short film for BMW and Sam Peckinpah’s Bodyform commercial.


3 Responses to “Take that to the bank”

  1. Trains figure in Fellini quite a lot: the finale of I Vittelloni, the opening and closing of City of Women, and a very striking central sequence of his last (sorely neglected) film The Voice of the Moon. The original ending he shot for 8 1/2 took place on a train.

    There’s a musical sting from Casanova at the end of the first ad clip.

  2. Actually he uses that sting on all three.

    In the third Rossini is utilized as in 8 1/2

    Interestingly the Bank of Rome looks quite like the whorehouse in Fellini Roma

  3. I wonder what the budgets were for these? They seem like a return to the lavishness of 70s Fellini.

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