By: Evan Bieder (Class of 2011)
For my global thesis project I have been studying the films of Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman with the supportive guidance of my advisor, Mr. Stout. The process of creating and researching a global topic has been an enriching and exciting experience for me thus far. I requested membership to the newly created Global Thesis Program with a broad interest in foreign film but with no particular preference to the two influential directors whom I eventually have chosen to study. I decided on studying Federico Fellini (Italy) and Ingmar Bergman (Sweden) after taking a liking to a few of their films which I saw over the summer. As an introduction to the project, I watched a variety of foreign films from a range of cultures and time periods but ended up settling on two talented, yet vastly distinct, directors.
After choosing my specific topic, an assortment of benchmark assessments designed by Dr. Cummings has brought me to where I am today. For the majority of the first semester, I collected a range of sources pertinent to my topic. Since I am studying a visual art, many of my sources were visual including, obviously, Bergman’s and Fellini’s films themselves but also documentaries and interviews with the two directors. Additionally, I read excerpts from biographies on the two men, analytical reviews of their works, and interview transcripts from an assortment of book sources and JSTOR articles. I also contacted and interviewed experts on the lives and works of Bergman and Fellini and received some extremely valuable input from these authors and film critics. Recently, I have focused on the cultural impact that the two artists have made not only in their respective countries of Italy and Sweden but around the world. My studies not only focus on the films of Bergman and Fellini, alone, but on the impact that the films had and still have on their surroundings. Furthermore, during the start of the second semester, I researched Italian and Swedish culture during the twentieth century and found a correlation between these cultures and the films that both directors have created. This aspect of my studies has been especially fascinating since Italian and Scandinavian cultures are immensely distinct yet both have produced such talented filmmakers. Also, I have given a few presentations of my findings using Powerpoint in order to develop and improve my presentational skills for my final presentation this May.
I am currently finishing up an outline for my paper which will be completed this spring. I have split my paper into five subtopics which include Fellini and Bergman’s upbringing, the cultural surroundings of Fellini and Bergman, the works of Fellini and Bergman, Fellini and Bergman’s creative processes as directors/producers/writers, and Fellini and Bergman’s personalities and how they are incorporated into their work. I am also attempting to avoid a mechanical paper by telling the stories of Fellini and Bergman simultaneously. The main reason why I choose to study two directors instead of one was because both are clearly distinct yet both lived through the same period in history (Fellini lived from 1920 – 1993, Bergman lived from 1918 – 2007). In my paper, I will not only honor both directors’ works but also compare and contrast the two cultures that produced such distinctive artists. I am looking forward to summing up my discoveries through my paper and presentation later this spring.