Fellini’s fascination with the circus and the surreal come to a head in one of his final masterpieces, The Clowns. The film reflects Fellini’s childhood obsession with clowns and begins with a young boy watching a circus set up from his bedroom window.
Though comical and referred to as a “docu-comedy”, this film explores deeper human conditions that resonate through the various clowns who vary from a local sex-crazed hobo, a midget nun, to a mutilated Mussolini disciple. The film diverges from its narrative and dreamy state to a more documentary like approach as Fellini searches out these jesters of his youth in Paris to see what has become of them ending with a funeral for one of the clowns. The carnival sounding score composed by Nino Rota and a cameo appearance by Anita Ekberg, the star of his 1960’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, enhances the Fellini-esque experience.