By the time he won the Oscar he was already a successful director – having completed La Dolce Vita (arguably one of his most notorious films).
The film, aptly titled 8 ½ referencing it as the making of his eight-and-a-half film, is a self-reflective piece about a famous Italian film director suffering a creative block. The perfect example of life imitating art, Fellini struggled to complete the project claiming he had “lost his film” in the production process. In the midst of his creative crisis Fellini penned a letter to producer Angelo Rizzoli saying he felt he had to abandon the project. Luckily, thanks to a serendipitous change of heart, that letter was never sent.
“He did not know if he still wanted to make this film,” explains Roberto Zorfini, director and scholar of Federico Fellini. He was in his office in Cinecittà when the chief machinist called for him to eat a slice of cake with the crew in honour of his birthday. As Fellini joined him and confessed his loss of inspiration, the chief machinist offered him a crucial piece of advice: It's your movie, your life, tell it!
In that moment, everything seemed to fall into place for Fellini and born was the artistic insight into the private life of the director who changed Italian cinema forever. Today, April 13, we remember Fellini in grateful recognition of the artistic courage that remains an inspiration for the film makers of today.
Directed by Federico Fellini Produced by Angelo Rizzoli Screenplay by Federico Fellini Ennio Flaiano Tullio Pinelli Brunello Rondi Story by Federico Fellini Ennio Flaiano Starring Marcello Mastroianni Claudia Cardinale Anouk Aimée Sandra Milo Rossella Falk Barbara Steele Music by Nino Rota Cinematography Gianni Di Venanzo Edited by Leo Catozzo Production company Cineriz Francinex Distributed by Cineriz (Italy) Columbia Pictures (France) Embassy Pictures (US) Release date 14 February 1963 Running time 138 minutes. Country Italy France.Language Italian French English