8 ½ is the most important film on this list. Without this film I would not have written any of these reviews or watched a great many of these titles. It reinvigorated my interest and love of international cinema and how I look at art of any form today. This film changed me for the better.
Federico Fellini shares the story of a director who is struggling with telling the story that he wants to tell, in the confines of what the production company wants to see. Between battling those studios and his own demons, he is trying to find his art and where he belongs in the world.
Guido, masterfully performed by Marcello Mastroianni, one of my favorite Italian actors, struggles with flashes of dreams and broken memories while being badgered by people trying to learn anything about his next picture or wanting to find a way to get their family members to be his next star.
You can find thousands of people who will want you to watch 8 ½ and all of them are correct, but that doesn’t matter to me. We live in a very peculiar time in history in which getting into contact with creators, badgering them for some sort of insight into why they made this decision or whether there is any personal connection to their work, is common. All this really does is slow down the creative process, having constant interruptions about details that probably don’t amount to a hill of beans in the overall story.
This is what I learned from Federico Fellini: If my question was truly important to anything, it would be in the story. 8 ½ taught me to enjoy films, something that I had been doing for years, but now it is on a completely different level. It opens me to all the actual possibilities of the narrative in ways that I never really thought possible. I am a better fan today than I was before I sat down to watch 8 ½ for the first time, and for that I will be forever grateful.
Watch it or don’t – your journey will be defined what you need to experience. Each experience is different and you don’t need a creator to tell you why you think something is important. If something speaks to you differently than it does others, meditate on that and try to find your own answers. This is why I am here today. I watched some Italian film and decided that there is a lot that I can learn about myself through the eye of others.