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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
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One of the most visionary figures to emerge from the fertile motion picture community of postwar-era Italy, Federico Fellini brought a new level of autobiographical intensity to his craft; more than any other filmmaker of his era, he transformed the realities of his life into the surrealism of his art. Though originally a product of the neorealist school, the eccentricity of Fellini's characterizations and his absurdist sense of comedy set him squarely apart from contemporaries like Vittorio De Sica or Roberto Rossellini, and at the peak of his career his work adopted a distinctively poetic, flamboyant, and influential style so unique that only the term "Felliniesque" could accurately describe it. Born in Rimini, Italy, on January 20, 1920, Fellini's first passion was the theater, and at the age of 12 he briefly ran away from home to join the circus, later entering college solely to avoid being drafted. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, he wrote and acted with his friend Aldo Fabrizi, and during wartime he composed radio sketches for the program Cico e Pallina, meeting his future wife, actress Giulietta Masina. Additionally, Fellini worked as an artist on fumetti (Italy's illustrated magazines), and occasionally even made his living as a caricaturist at Roman restaurants. He only entered film with the aid of Fabrizi, who recruited Fellini to continue supplying stories and ideas for his performances; between 1939 and 1944, the two men worked in tandem on a number of largely forgotten comedies, among them No Me Lo Dire, Quarta Pagina, and Campo de Fiori. The pivotal moment in Fellini's early career came in the days following the Allied Forces' 1945 liberation of Italy, when he and Fabrizi both began working with the young Roberto Rossellini. Rossellini's initial plan was to film a fictionalized account of the Germans' shooting of a local priest. With Fellini on board as a screenwriter, however, the film eventually grew to become Roma, Città Aperta, a landmark of Italian neorealism and one of the most widely acclaimed pictures of its era. For the follow-up, 1946's Paisa, Fellini graduated to the position of assistant director, later collaborating on films by Pietro Germi (including In Nomine Della Legge and Il Cammino Della Speranza) and Alberto Lattuda (Il Delitto di Giovanni Episcopo and Il Mulino del Po), among others. In 1948, Fellini completed the screenplay for Il Miracolo, the second and longer section of Rossellini's two-part effort Amore. Here Fellini's utterly original worldview first began to truly take shape in the form of archetypal characters (a simple-minded peasant girl and her male counterpart, a kind of holy simpleton), recurring motifs (show business, parties, the sea), and an ambiguous relationship with religion and spirituality, a relationship further explored in his script for Rossellini's 1949 Francesco, Giullare di Dio. In 1950, Fellini made his first attempt at directing one of his own screenplays (albeit with the technical guidance of Alberto Lattuda); the result was Luci del Varieta, which further developed his fusion of neorealism with the atmosphere of surrealism. After two more screenplays -- 1951's La Citta si Difende and 1952's Il Brigante di Tacca del Lupo, both directed by Pietro Germi -- Fellini again took over the directorial reins for the romantic satire Lo Sciecco Bianc. The film marked his first work with composer Nino Rota, who emerged among the key contributors to his work throughout the remainder of his career. Fellini's initial masterpiece, I Vitteloni, followed in 1953. The first of his features to receive international distribution, it later won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, the first of so many similar honors that eventually an entire room in his house was devoted solely to housing his awards. The brilliant La Strada followed in 1954, also garnering the Silver Lion as well as the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Picture and some 50 other worldwide prizes