Frederico Fellini’s masterpiece that most consider to be his best work has topped many lists of the 100 best movies of all time, and I definitely can’t overlook it, either.
It is, without a doubt, the best film about making a film ever made. The storyline is one Fellini was all too familiar with: a popular director’s newest film is being hyped up to no end, and the director himself still doesn’t know much about where his film is going, although he is having a gigantic, elaborate set built for it.
Legendary actor and Fellini’s male muse Marcello Mastroianni plays the director in this film, which is obviously in essence Fellini himself. While struggling with his art, he is also dealing with his health and a wealth of wonderful women, who flutter around him like beautiful, but all very unique, butterflies around an overripe peach. The scene in his mind where he wrangles with the women from his past and present is one that I have noticed definitely strikes a chord with many men, whether they like the rest of the film or not.
It’s very hard to pick a favorite moment in the film. The characters all have that wonderful Fellini-esque quality to them that makes them seem more important than your average secondary characters; Fellini’s use of music, especially at the spa, is impeccable; and his daydream sequences almost make you feel as if you are the one imagining. A scene involving his perfect actress, played by Claudia Cardinale, is especially beautiful and poignant; time seems to stop as she almost magically glides up to Mastroianni. She is the actress that the director dreams of, but, as is the way with many of the perfect pretty ones in Hollywood, when he finally meets her in person, she loses that luster of being someone who was molded into a cinematic work of art.
It’s wonderful to get to see a glimpse into the mind of a man like Fellini; the viewer is truly taken into his world, which is one where reality and imagination seamlessly blend and just about everyone is humorous in their own quirky way. The final scene where everyone comes together on his massive set is one of the most well-known to directors and film critics, and there was no better way he could have ended this film.
They always say to use what you know and what you have lived to be creative, and you will create your best work. That is definitely the case with Fellini, and what helps to make this film generally considered one of the best movies of all time.