Often called the most influential director of the 20th century, Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini was a master of the surreal, using striking images, autobiographical detail and disjointed narratives to create poetic films that impressed audiences across the world. As an emerging figure of the Italian Neorealism movement, Fellini started as a screenwriter before making his feature debut with the bittersweet "Variety Lights" (1950). In a few short years, he directed his first masterpiece, "La Strada" (1954), a tragically poignant tale that earned him international acclaim and award recognition. Following a pair of lesser works, Fellini reached the height of his talents and popularity with "La Dolce Vita" (1960), a wild satirical look at decadent Italian life that raised the ire of those it parodied while earning the adulation of critics, filmmakers and art house filmgoers. Fellini hit a third master stroke with the highly personal "8 1/2" (1963), a seamless blend of artifice and autobiography that put on full display the extent of his profound artistry. But as time passed and his films became more surreal, Fellini was tagged as being self-indulgent and saw his stature diminish, particularly after the explicit "Fellini Satyricon" (1969), which polarized critics and audiences. He had one final brush with greatness in directing "Amarcord" (1974), his most accessible film, before struggling for the rest of his career to find financial backing for his movies. Despite slipping into mediocrity later in life, Fellini nonetheless remained a filmmaking giant whose influence crossed generations all over the world.