Revisit the fan letter Federico Fellini sent to Stanley Kubrick
In years gone by, it has not been unusual for acclaimed and celebrated filmmakers to heavily critique the work of their contemporaries. Famously, French New Wave director, Jacques Rivette, once described Stanley Kubrick as “a machine, a mutant, a martian.” He went on to assert that Kubrick “has no human feeling whatsoever”. However, today’s feature is about one auteur praising another.
When Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini, known and widely celebrated for his masterpieces such as La Dolce Vita and 8½, saw Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, he was so overcome by it that he felt the need to send a telegram to Kubrick, 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.
The film in question, Kubrick’s iconic sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, is widely considered one of the greatest pictures of all time. The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter delves deep into subjects such as human evolution, existentialism, technology and artificial intelligence and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
The official synopsis reads: “An imposing black structure provides a connection between the past and the future in this enigmatic adaptation of a short story by revered sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke. When Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) and other astronauts are sent on a mysterious mission, their ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display increasingly strange behaviour, leading up to a tense showdown between man and machine that results in a mind-bending trek through space and time.”
Fellini, a director known internationally for the distinctive cinematic style he forged, was so overcome with passion and excitement after viewing 2001 for the first time that he felt compelled to contact the creation.
“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.”