Nancy Cartwright’s wonderful “love affair” with Federico Fellini shines in “In Search of Fellini”

We have been in love with Federico Fellini’s films since we were 8 1/2.
We’ve also been in love with Lucy. Of course, that Lucy, but we’re on the ball with a different Lucy.
Let us explain.
A coming-of-age adventure, the film In Search of Fellini follows Lucy, a small-town girl from Ohio who discovers the delightfully bizarre films of the legendary Italian filmmaker and sets off on a journey across Italy to find him. Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson for nearly 30 years!) is a co-writer and executive producer; the film is actually inspired by her true life events: her fascination with and search for Federico Fellini, in Italy, as a young woman. Nancy has even kept the original letters that she wrote to Federico Fellini (on a Corona typewriter) in the mid ’80s as well as correspondence from his office. This winsome drama, from Spotted Cow Entertainment, also starring Maria Bello and Mary Lynn Rajskub, arrives on DVD on February 23.
Lucy Cunningham has never kissed a boy, never had a job and never really had friends. Her best, and perhaps only, friend is her mother, Claire (portrayed by Bello), who has shielded her from all the bad in the world, including Claire’s own terminal illness. Claire’s no-BS sister, Kerri (Rajskub), urges her to break her silence and tell Lucy the truth before it’s too late. Lucy, aware that something is up, goes to Cleveland for an ill-fated job interview. There, she stumbles into a bizarre and wonderful festival of the films of legendary Italian director Federico Fellini and is instantly swept away with his Oscar-winning film La Strada (1953).  The cleverly enigmatic tragicomedy leaves Lucy restless and aching for answers, and in a burst of courage, she leaves her small-town home to find the filmmaker and unlock his mysteries and her own.

What follows is a strange and spectacular journey through the romantic dreamscapes of Italy, as Lucy encounters characters, fantasies and nightmares from Fellini’s films.  Her journey of discovery and life counterpoints Claire’s gradual decline into death. Apart but connected, they fulfill both of their dreams as truth and fiction intertwine into the ultimate Felliniesque journey.


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