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Friday, June 8, 2012

My Very Funny Fantasy Fellini Joke

           Federico Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni  walk into a bar.  "Two glasses of vino," says the famous Italian director to the bartender.
            The barkeep serves the two glasses.  "Eight and a half lira," he says.
            Federico hands over a thousand lira bill and says, "Keepa the change."  Leaning over to Marcello he says, "Thisa place izza cheap.  It doesn't cost a fortunella to drink here."
            Federico raises his glass for a toast.  "To life--life is good."
             "La dolce vita," says Marcello with a smile.
             They sip their wine in a contemplative minute then Marcello says, "Have you heard fromma Nino lately?"
            "Ah, yes, Nino Rota me the other day.  Hearing from Nino is music to my ears.  Right now he's at an orchestra rehearsal for a soundtrack for some silly little American movie about Italian gangsters."  Fellini laughs.  "You'd think we Italians are a bunch of clowns."
           "It's a swindle.  Gangsters!  Why do the Americans always think Italians are gangsters?"
           "I guessa we hava too much fun, eh, Marcello?"  Fellini nudges his friend and winks.  "One for the road,"  Fellini calls to the bartender, holding up his wine glass.
            "And howsa life Federico?"   Marcello says in a quiet voice.
            "The usual circus.  Always surrounded by clowns, midgets, and androgynous men with make-up and feather boas.  And then of coursa the women witha big breasts."
            "Oh, yes, you lika those women witha big breasts, eh Federico."
            "And you don't, Marcello? says Fellini jokingly.  "You lika all the women.  You don't fool anyone.  And all the women they love you back.  You are such a Casanova.  I thinka you'd like to live in a city of nothing but women--and you the only man."
           "Sounds like another one of your dreams to me, Federico."
            The men both have a lusty laugh.
             Then Marcello turns to Fellini with a questioning expression.  "Itsa kinda funny--here we are, here in Roma, both of us Italiano and we speaka de English.  Why we speaka da English?"
             Fellini shrugs and says, "No subtitles."

               If you read my Wednesday post you have some idea where today's post is coming from.  Did you understand the hidden jokes?  I'm sure you didn't.  Nobody watches Fellini movies except for me and maybe a few other weirdo cinephiles.   Please tell me that somebody who read this got it.  Okay, then how about this:   Was the story kind of funny without knowing about the real life characters?
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  1. I watch... it is one of my favorite scores, though I missed the joke. I will wait here for the "hazah"... have a great day boss!

    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    Visit The Madness:

  2. I didn't really understand this originally until I gave it a lot of thought and it's pretty damn good haha, nice post Lee.

  3. I didn't get the inside references although while I was reading I assumed they were there. If it helps, I did get a little chuckle at the end. I think I'll go back a post and see if I can gain some insight.

  4. I haven't heard of it until now.

    Have a great week-end.


  5. I've seen Life is Good, so I got that one!

  6. I especailly love the "Nina Rota me" line.

  7. Argh! Especially, not especailly. (I hate when I do that.)

  8. mmmm i still gotta watch one of the movies, lee---i think i missed most of the humor--but the scene in my mind was pretty funny!

  9. OMG, did you make that up? It's brilliant! Yes I got the joke. When I was in college, the student Union showed Fellini flicks every weekend for a whole semester. Then they went to Bergman flicks, but people were getting too bummed out so someone decided to give us Roman Polanski's, "Repulsion" for a change. Not a big success. AFter that, it was Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy till graduation.

  10. As I was reading your post, I could picture the Fellini movies--Anita Ekberg (sp) et all, and all those dwarfs. "Northern Exposure" even had a take on Fellini. I am such a movie fan, but not an expert. I am writing about my favorite movies--summer viewing. Would love for you to drop in and add your favs.

  11. Jeremy -- Actually there is more than one joke and the joke is not confined to just this story. The joke is multilayered and spans lives, time, and other dimensions. The more one might research the topic, the more obvious the multiple jokes become but by that time the possibility of laughter would be so diffused that one might smile--then again maybe not.

    Yeamie -- Thanks. I watched a lot of Fellini when I was in college. Check out his films.

    Alex -- "No subtitles" is merely the obligatory punchline to create a superficial jokiness to the story, but the real joke is far more existential and surreal. And part of the joke is on me though I expected it and understand it--that joke appears in this comment section.

    Liza -- One would need to know more about Fellini, Mastroianni, and Rota to catch the inside jokes and be aware of my Wednesday post to get a deeper more obscure joke.

    Yvonne -- Be well. Come back.

    Shelly -- Glad you got it.

    Matthew -- Do you mean the Nazi Life Is Good with Begninni? Or the Good Life about whores?

    LD -- Thank you! I kind of liked that part myself.

    Lynn -- Remember to let me know what you thought if you do watch one of his movies. If you hate it don't be upset with me.

    Roxie -- Oh, I love you! Yes, I made that up myself. I've been Fellini obsessed this past week--more so than most of the time. I used to watch the film series at college as well. Yes, Bergman does get pretty ponderous. I thought Repulsion was a great film and Polanski is one of my favorite directors. Marx Brothers were great surrealists.


  12. Lover of Words-- Thank you! Fellini has often been parodied and emulated. David Lynch is a big Fellini fan. I'll be by to check your post.


  13. Great post. What does it say about me that I got most of these? Damn I hate when my age keeps cropping up! Then again, I watched old movies when I was six.

  14. Thata wasa long winda up for the the throw. Thanks for the Fellini humor. I don't hear him mentioned much anymore, so it's nice to read your posts.

  15. That was funny Lee! You've brought a smile to the upcoming weekend! Hope you have a good one too!

  16. I probably missed most of it, but I'm not familiar with Fellini - so no surprise there :) Have a great weekend Lee!

  17. Not sure I've seen anything from Fellini, but I felt like I got humor in an overall stereotypical Italian way. It reminded me of when a school chum of mine and me had the school convinced her dad was a big mafioso (their last name was Carbone, he was a wizened little man, and they were from New Jersey...perfect setup). I'm willing to bet people still think it's true. Also, I like Lynch; interesting to know he is a Fellini fan!

  18. Wendy -- I'm proud of you. Besides Fellini's films are ageless. They'll probably be around longer than most of the schlock that's been released over the past few decades. When I was 6 everything was old. Even the new stuff seemed old.

    C.Lee -- I just threw the punch line in there for the sake of convention. There's a lot of subtle humor throughout the narrative and inferred humor based on the context of the blog post.

    Paula -- Thanks. I'm sure you're familiar with many of Fellini's films with you entertainment background.

    Jemi -- You should check out at least one Fellini film. He mostly deals in the realms of fantasy and the fantastical.

    Shannon -- Watch a Fellini film and I think you'll recognize where Lynch got a lot of his influence. The two directors both bathe in the same pool of the surreal and the absurd.


  19. I got some - I'm sure there were more I missed. Loved the punch line!

    Happy Weekend :)

  20. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood in NY so as I was reading I could hear/imagine them talking. My husband is asking " why are you giggling?" Very clever!

  21. Not ashamed I didn't get it because it still was a fun read and the ending was an interesting punchline! At least I realized there are some things I know absolutely nothing about.

  22. Amusing post, love the Italiano English, but I'm missing something. Bravo, Bona Sera, and Arrivederci!

  23. Very clever and witty!
    Blessings, Joanne

  24. Nope! Too obscure for me and if there's one thing I can't stand it's subtitles!

  25. I guess I'm just slow. I've seen many fellini movies, some I liked, some I did not. But I don't get the joke. They talked (in your story) just like my grandparents did. I loved their accent, and I miss them now.

    Subtitles never bothered me, and now as I get older and am slightly hard of hearing, we use them for english movies too!!!

    so for the slower readers, tell us the secret joke.

    Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

  26. Damn, now I wish I was a Fellini buff so I could get all the jokes :)

  27. Hi Lee .. I did laugh at the dialogue, though I'm not sure I fully understood - to deepa for me .. I often watch movies with subtitles and I guess I bumble along with some of the lingo ..

    I did enjoy the post though even though I haven't seen any/many Fellini movies - disgrazeaful!

    Cheers Hilary

  28. I like Fellini, but he is weird, I'd love to see his casting call, too. Hubby and I saw them at art film festivals in Vancouver. Marcello was a fave actor.

    Nice way to weave in maybe six of Fellini's movies. (I haven't seen them all)

  29. Carol-- So you were a little warmer than most of the preceding commenters.

    Jennifer -- Thank you! I was hoping I was capturing the dialect without going overboard with it.

    Chuck -- Fellini has some very apocalyptic visions in his films that you might enjoy.

    Buck -- You'd have to know about Fellini's films to catch on.

    Joanne -- thanks!

    Rosalind -- I used to abhor subtitles, but I got used to them when I started watching a lot of foreign film in college. They can be a hassle especially if there is a lot of dialog.

    Mimi -- the more obvious part of the joke was my interweaving of references of Fellini films and things related to Fellini in the dialog. Then there was my own joke of the obscurity of the topic and me writing about it.

    Trisha -- You need to watch a Fellini film.

    Hilary --Thanks for playing along anyway.

    D.G. -- I like weird--Fellini, Lynch, and others with a surrealistic bent. Glad you caught what I was doing. The post was mostly funny to me because of the relation to my previous post and the ongoing joke about my personal love of Fellini movies and nobody else that I know likes them.


  30. Aww. I didn't get it. But now you've got me all curious. I'm going to have to see one of these movies..!


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