Google's Cinecittà doodle

Google Doodle for Fellini’s film studio

Rome’s Cinecittà film studio receives the search engine’s occasional illustrated honour

“Although Mussolini preferred speaking directly to audiences from his balcony at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome,” writes Steven Heller in our book Iron Fists: branding the 20th century totalitarian state, “he knew the value of radio and film in reaching the masses.  He personally laid the foundation stone of Cinecittà (Film City) outside Rome, and placed his son Vittorio in charge of the complex.”

While it may have begun as a factory for cinematic propaganda, Heller goes on to acknowledge that after WWII the film complex became the birthplace of Italian New Wave cinema.


Period-drama extras in Cinecittà during its heyday
Period-drama extras in Cinecittà during its heyday

It’s for the films made during this era that the movie studio is best known, earning it a Google Doodle on its 77th birthday. Here Federico Fellini celebrated and satirized the decadent post-war boom in La Dolce Vita, shooting his Palme d’Or winning feature at Cinecittà in 1960, as well as subsequent movies such as 8 1/2, and Satyricon.

More recently filmmakers such as Wes Anderson and Martin Scorsese have filmed at the complex, lensing The Life Aquatic and The Gangs of New York respectively. While online media might have played a role in weakening the complex’s financial standing, Google’s acknowledgment of this minor anniversary suggests its cultural position remains assured. Buon compleanno! as they say in Rome.

For more on Cinecittà’s foundation consider our book Iron Fists: branding the 20th century totalitarian state; for more on Fellini’s work and the studio complex take a look at our Masters of Cinema volume on the great director, produced in conjunction with Cahiers du Cinema. And, when in Rome, don’t forget your Wallpaper* city guide.