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aka - Sceicco Bianco, Lo
Italy 1952
Directed by
Frederico Fellini
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The White Sheik

What is surprising about Fellini's first feature, an amusing if slight story about a young bride who escapes her pendantic husband whilst on a Roman honeymoon to pursue her screen idol, Lo Sceicco Bianco, the White Sheik of the film's title is that it manifests most of the thematic and stylistic features which recur throughout the director's subsequent career, underlining how his films are not so much driven by dramatic need as a reworking of certain emotionally resonant and largely autobiographical concerns.

What is remarkable is that unlike Woody Allen (who perhaps had this film in mind when he made The Purple Rose Of Cairo) his films do not become repetitious. His wife, Guilietta Masina. appears briefly as the prostitute Cabiria, the subject of his 1957 film, The Nights Of Cabiria, whilst Alberto Sordi who plays the Sheik would also star in Fellini's next film, I Vitelloni (1953).

The film was co-scripted by Fellini with his regular collaborator Tullio Pinelli and Michelangelo Antonioni. 




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