...l'arte di far ridere...


I Clowns


inspired by the movie "I Clowns di Federico Fellini"




featuring "I Clowns Colombaioni"


“Dad Colombaioni has been for me a precious assistant, not just because he placed his big-top and his brood of kids at my disposal, his grandchildren who jumped everywhere like kangaroos, but also for that intimate, uncommon atmosphere that his Circus could propagate, something indefinable and dreamlike...”  This is how Fellini recalled his long collaboration with the Colombaioni family, an experience that started with “Le notti di Cabiria” and went on with many other famous movies like “Amarcord”, “Roma”, “La Nave”, “Casanova”. A long love, rich with support, that naturally developed into the  Fellini's movie dedicated to them: “I Clowns”.Because of that movie Alfredo Colombaioni, one of the film’s actors, and I were inspired to  revisit not only the world of the clowns who we saw in the movie, but also that of Fellini himself, who can live again through his own words, thoughts, images that refer unmistakably to his cinema. â€œI have a lot of friends in the world of the circus and anytime we meet they hug me, give me a warm welcome, as if I were  one of them: a horseman  or a sword-eater. And, after all, why not?” Fellini is there, in the ring, still in half light, he observes with his omnivorous curiosity everything, each single object of that world where our bourgeois values are subverted, turned upside down, derided, where the game becomes the rule and the style. We see the clowns as he did, busy to get ready, to make up their faces, to get dressed, while speaking their bizarre language, charming for the neophyte, that seems to come from a world apart. They  remind the gestures of their fathers, uncles, grandfathers in this boundless family whose name is: Colombaioni. The Clowns, still “human”, greet the Master, with love and smiles. They feel like confiding in him, extending this moment of deep intimacy  just, before jumping on the ring. But Fellini makes a sign to proceed,  he is in a hurry to relive those emotions that captivated him as he was a child on his father's knees and he saw for the first time a Circus' spectacle. The “wind”, that evokes memories, stifles, the Colombaioni disappear in the  background and you can hear, in the distance, the echo of a nursery-rhyme that slowly vanishes... And then, go! Suddenly the lights turn on, the clowns enter in the ring, a breathtaking whirligig of sketches, farces, gags, tricks, music that involve the members of the audience,  both adults and children, in a Chinese box game where a sketch contains another sketch inside, in a vertiginous whirligig that is consumed in hypnotic circle of the consumed...but can a clown really die? Fellini, asked himself this same question at the end of the film, and it is that question that the Colombaioni seek to answer. How is it possible? In the only way they know: by staging the famous “Funeral of a Clown” in their own way.  


Ferdinando Ceriani

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