The word paparazzi comes from Italian.
I found the origin of the word to be interesting. It comes from a character named Paparazzo in an Italian film. It’s just the name of a character in one film, so it’s pretty amazing that it has become a word that’s used all over the world, don’t you think?
Of course, it’s not just your average film. It was made by the genius Italian director Federico Fellini, which makes it a bit more understandable. What’s more, the man who played Paparazzo was
Marcello Mastroianni, a huge star who went around enchanting women all over the world with his handsome features. I wonder if there might be some women who wouldn’t mind it if a paparazzi like Mastroianni was following them around or taking pictures of them from the shadows.
By the way, there’s a scene La Dolce Vita, in which Mastroianni plays the gossip columnist named Paparazzo, that I know about even though I haven’t seen the entire film. In it, the female lead, played by Anita Ekberg, climbs into Trevi Fountain—and apparently the real-life paparazzi were swarming during the filming of it. It was an incredibly sensual scene. Although it seems like the scene would have been plenty sexy enough even if she’d just strolled into a regular old pond instead of the Trevi Fountain and without Fellini producing it…
This year Fellini would have turned a hundred years old. I feel like I’ve watched a lot of films, but more recently I realized that I’d only seen parts of Fellini’s works and never watched one from beginning to end. I want to do that to commemorate the fact that it’s been exactly a century since he was born.
When Fellini was a little boy, he was so taken by the circus when his dad took him to see it that he ended up skipping school and going to it every day after that. Even that wasn’t enough, however, so he ran away home and lied about getting bullied at school and not getting fed at home, hiding away and living in a circus tent. Clearly he was a child that was carried away by romance and not afraid to take action. He later planned to run away from home again, eloping at age 15 with a girl his age named Bianci.
His passion for women can’t be measured with a single elopement, but just that scene at the Trevi Fountain could never have been made by someone who didn’t worship female beauty.
I found myself smiling when read Fellini’s reaction to first visiting a filming location. This was before he became a film director, when he was working on scripts. How do directors, he wrote, who make films surrounded by these beautiful actresses, keep their wits about them enough to do their jobs?
Aside from the question of how Fellini resolved this question or worry once he became a director himself, there is no doubt that he excelled at making beautiful women look even more lovely. When you think about it that way, it’s no surprise at all that the name of one of his characters ended up part of the official lexicon.