April 23, 2011

Must Watch Before You Die #10: '8 1/2' (1963)

Most 'must-watch' films are great. Some are really unique in their intent, approach, and achievement. Almost all of them are unforgettable. And then there is '8 1/2'...

Many filmmakers are great. They defy the genres and develop their own cinematic expression. Some of them truly earn the reputation of artists. They dare and they do. And then there is Federico Fellini...

A film about the making of a film, and that film is the film itself. Aptly described as "a self-reflexive modernist art-film fairy tale" by Marilyn Fabe in the book 'Closely Watched Films', '8 1/2' is the best way cinema could celebrate itself... It is outrageous, and it is sheer magic.

"I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help to bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I'm the one without the courage to bury anything at all. And now I'm utterly confused... I wonder why things turned out this way. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same."

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