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A ragout of real memories and mockumentary, as Fellini explores a childhood obsession: circus clowns.

A ragout of real memories and mockumentary with Fellini exploring a childhood obsession: circus clowns. Fellini considered ringmaster as an alternate career - here he's a mesmerized MC sharing his still-intense feelings with his audience. In the first of three segments, as a child, Fellini awakens to the raising of a circus outside his home, and he must explore it. The clowns remind young Federico of strange and terrifying neighbors in his seaside hometown of Rimini, so "The Clowns" recreate a few of them in filmed vignettes. Fellini decides to make a documentary about what happened to the classic jesters of his youth, so he accompanies a farcical (and mock) film crew to Paris to investigate clown history, and track down surviving greats. He just happens to run into legendary clown Charlie Chaplin's daughter Alice, and at a circus one of Fellini's best-known stars, Anita Ekberg, there to buy a big cat. At a museum, Fellini is bereft to see the sparse, deteriorating footage of his comic idols. Fellini can't let his movie end this way or this soon, so he creates a grand, much bigger-than-life celebration of the pageantry and mysticism of one of his major influences.


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