“The artist is the medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world.”—Federico Fellini.
Federico Fellini, the Italian film director and screenwriter, is celebrated by many as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time.
In a career spanning almost fifty years, Fellini built up a reputation based around his unique ability to blend aspects of fantasy and topics of society and human nature in a unique neorealism approach with controversial narrative situations.
His work on films such as 8½, La Dolce Vita, La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits, Satyricon and many more led to 12 Academy Award nominations and a coining of the cinematic phrases of ‘Fellinian’ and ‘Felliniesque’ as measures of film aesthetics.
“When I start a picture, I always have a script, but I change it every day,” Fellini once said of his approach to filmmaking. “I put in what occurs to me that day out of my imagination. You start on a voyage; you know where you will end up but not what will occur along the way. You want to be surprised.”
Fellini added: “I am not a movie director who consciously plots the movements of the camera, because they are very natural. Imagination is everything. The picture is in my head, and I just try to make it.”
While the Italian filmmaker took inspiration from varying forms of artistic creation, he was always forthcoming in pointing out the work of his directing colleagues who, alongside the man himself, helped push through a different approach to cinema.
As part of the Sight and Sound poll, Fellini was asked to select pictures that he considers to be the greatest of all time. While he did skew the rules ever so slightly, Fellini picked out the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and more.
See the full list, below.
Federico Fellini’s 10 Favourite Films:
- The Circus (1928) / City Lights (1931) / Monsieur Verdoux (1947) – Director, Charlie Chaplin.
- Any Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy
- Stagecoach – John Ford, 1939.
- Rashomon – Akira Kurosawa, 1950.
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – Luis Bunuel, 1972.
- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
- Paisan – Roberto Rossellini, 1946.
- The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock, 1963.
- Wild Strawberries – Ingmar Bergman, 1957.
- 8½ – Federico Fellini, 1963.
Of course, it should come as very little surprise that Fellini chose the Kubrick sc-fi epic 2001: A Space Odyssey as part of his all-time favourite movies. After he witnessed the 1968 epic, Fellini was so overcome by its brilliance that he felt compelled to contact Kubrick, opting to send him full of praise.
The premise of writing to his fellow contemporaries was one well championed by Kubrick, who, during his long career, was well known for sending other directors praise-filled letters, as in his note to Ingmar Bergman.
“Dear Stanley”, Fellini writes, “I saw yesterday your film and I need to tell you my emotion, my enthusiasm. I wish you the best luck in your path.”
See the original letter below.