Quick-Thoughts: Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963)

Federico Fellini Marathon Part IV of VI

This one quote alone from could destroy any argument against people who desire intellectual substance in art or general entertainment: 

“No need to add chaos onto chaos.”

La Dolce Vita (1960) seems like pity surrealism when you put it up against Federico Fellini’s follow-up which just goes FULL IN ON IT. The busyness of a considered winner (AKA, the director himself portrayed by the actor Marcello Mastroianni) is in complete effect here: Fellini treats industry success and subsequent future filmmaking projects like a fever-nightmare of endless harassment, of surreal confusion, a headache-inducing attempt at harmonizing your artistic vision and the real, critical world you must suffer through to get to it, as well as the repulsive desires of your own bodily self and the dream-state that hardens your judgement. , ultimately, is unbelievably self-indulgent, but in the most entertaining way possible. 

Now, I could go on about technicalities such as Nino Rota’s score and soundtrack which is just *explosion noise* some of the most constructive utilization of music in the film medium ever or the diverse production design which I’m still baffled by how it was even conceived in the first place, but I’m more keen to mention how I kind of sinisterly love how this movie almost feels like a satirical slander against creating thought-provoking or quote on quote “intellectual” art too, and the overwhelming process of getting there. Why burden ourselves with arduous discussion when all it does is bring us closer and closer to a gaping desire for death? Why run an empire of needy souls when it only provokes their mind’s wants into further chaos and disappointment? Expectations sort of do that ya know, especially when you’re looking up to a filmmaker now considered to be a modern legend, but is secretly just a liverish egotist. I’m starting to perceive essentially as if it was a far less optimistic interpretation of Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev.

The relentless mind of a fatigued artist has never felt so authentic as it does here. is one of those movies where you really have to see it to believe it; don’t take my mere word for it. My interpretations are currently being curated in a blender of impressions right now, so in future rewatches I’m sure I’ll write a more detailed analysis on what makes this movie quite the tour de force, but for now, you get this half-assed review. You’re welcome.

Verdict: A+

Federico Fellini Ranked, My All-Time Favorites

“8½” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel and HBO Max.

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