2½ stars. It looks great, it sounds great, Mastroianni is great, and Fellini moves his camera with virtuosity. But oh how indulgently it chuckles at entitled male self-regard while endorsing it to the hilt. The life-as-a-circus theme isn't given any depth, it's just a sentimental ploy to disguise egotistical special pleading. The gulf between the film's vaunted reputation and its actual achievement is massive.
Spectacular. Six years since the last time I watched it. Fresh, startling, funny and annoying. Should be remade by every nation, and every generation, trying to be faithful and not ironic. The failed and context-bound translations would be hilarious, inventive and fascinating in the same way as the original, without its originality. So, so Italian. So, so 1960s.
Another classic that it took me far too long to get around to, this Federico Fellini film is just a beautiful, almost perfect, mix of heightened reality and blurred dreams as a director (Marcello Mastroianni) retreats into his own memories and thoughts while being besieged by people around him who demand to know more about the latest film that he's working on.
Memories, like dreams and fantasies, are often filled with things whose meaning we may not understand but are fundamental to our existence and often act as a recurring element. This film is also a satire on how films chase a story or issue instead of a more personal, fundamental essence. I like the self references made to the direction of the film in the film, how playful it is, and how flights of fancy become real.
Organised chaos: such is (not) making a film apparently but such is life and dreams. An extraordinary synthesis that is the whole from it’s parts; a rag bag in probably anyone else’s hands, but here a beautiful and seductive unity of procrastination, avoidance, and mess. One of those films that rewards repeated viewings: each time a new insight revealed and reminder of life affirmed.
Masterpiece. This film sucks you into the subconscious of a man torn between his past, present and the heavy weight of expectations - and there is also a beautiful love story. It feels so human, yet so full of imagination with absolutely startling cinematography. To make it even more interesting, this is also a film about the making of itself. I have never seen anything like this.