Keywords: Federico Fellini; Il Bidone; Giulietta Masina; L'arte di arrangiarsi; Commedia all'italiana.
This paper looks at Fellini's "Il bidone" (1955) in terms of the director's productively oppositional stance in relation to the Church, especially its strictures regarding marriage. Though the male artist who inveigles his freedom from marriage by deceiving his wife or fiancée has appeared consistently in his films, in "Il bidone" Fellini first presents this figure seriously, giving substantial consideration to his desire for freedom from marital bonds. It is in this film as well, though, that the con artist's rallying cry for liberation is challenged by the wife's defense of honest love and marriage. The ideological impasse represented by the unresolved contention between the con artist and the wife in "Il bidone" signals an imminent shift, a point in Fellini's films, when the emphasis on the artist practicing deception in his marriage will shift incontrovertibly to the idea of marriage itself as a deception propagated by the Church.