Home Entertainment Federico Fellini and his analyst Ernst Bernhard

Federico Fellini and his analyst Ernst Bernhard

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At the beginning of the nineties, in contrast with the academic environment that considered Freud’s thought scientific, while rejecting that of Jung, I undertook a study on Jungian thought in Italian literature. An essay was dedicated to Andrea Zanzotto’s “Mother-norm”. I got in touch with the poet who told me about the psychotherapy he had undergone for years and when my book came out, he suggested that I send a copy to Federico Fellini, to whom I had dedicated a few pages.

In Making a Film Fellini said that he had been dazzled by Jung, the Zurich doctor had made him discover unknown landscapes and new perspectives from which to look at life. It was his analyst, the German Jew Ernst Bernhard, who introduced him to him.

Ernst Bernhard

Fellini was one of the many Italian authors and writers to frequent his studio in via Gregoriana which overlooked Rome and a world that many feared. During the therapy the analyst used the I Ging, the Chinese book of changes, and this created scandal, some strongly advised him not to use it. He had even taken him to confinement, in the fascist camp of Ferramonti from which he would have been deported to a Nazi concentration camp in Germany, if at the last moment the orientalist Giuseppe Tucci had not managed to make him return to Rome.

He remained hidden for months in a secret room of his study. Dissatisfied with the Italian version of the I Ging based on the German version of Richard Wilhelm, he entrusted a new translation to one of his patients, Bruno Veneziani, Italo Svevo’s brother-in-law.

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Catherine McGilvray’s film, Fellini and the Shadow, plunges into the director’s book of dreams as in a great sea, a Fellini’s sea-woman and, alternating fiction, documentary and animation thanks to the skilful editing of Silvia Di Domenico, retraces the relationship between Fellini and his analyst. In the role of a Portuguese director, McGilvray’s alter-ego walks on the beach of Rimini, enters a huge empty studio in Cinecittà from which he escapes, and finally arrives in via Gregoriana.

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