8½

★★★★★

Wow.

For many years, I had anticipated, but also feared the prospect of watching another one of Federico Fellini's acclaimed masterpieces - he always felt like a director I appreciated, but couldn't really get into. The two of his films I have seen so far, La Strada and The Nights of Cabiria, were wonderfully executed, but left me cold and struggling to find a connection in retrospect. Now that I found this film available on Mubi, I decided to give Fellini another chance and finally catch up on - and what a great film this is.

I don't even have the words to describe what a remarkable accomplishment this is. Fellini's direction is staggering and astonishing; the level of craft which went into this film left me in awe and admiration. Marcello Mastroianni commands the screen with his presence; what a legendary actor. The production design, score, sound design and cinematography are beautiful and flawlessly executed. There really isn't a single thing that I could criticise about this film, as the perfection doesn't only lie in its technical achievements, but also within the realms of its emotional impact. It's apparent that was a deeply personal story for director Fellini, and the resulting art is a cinematic masterpiece of the best kind. It's not an easy film to digest, and likely difficult to swallow for viewers who watch this unprepared, but so worthy of all the praise that has been directed towards it.

1963 Ranked

Featured in: Great Movies

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