yellow_jacket’s review published on Letterboxd:
In the process of creation, resistance becomes our greatest enemy. If there was ever a personification of that resistance, it would be the mirror. Becuase the moment we reflect who we are in our work, we shrink away to feel uneasy of that very desire to be. That very thought of being, with that advantage of freedom, is dualistic by nature. We must act, and we must react. But if the creator is the one taking the action, the critic must react. Thus, we fear the critic, for he believes that any mode of action brings bad faith to all humanity. Doing nothing is one way to escape our fears, but it only kills our time as a creator. So what can we do to make life a little more satisifying for ourselves?
The journey begins like this. Guido Anselmi (represented by Marcelllo Mastroianni) tries to find a place of solace that would take his mind away from the pressure of making a film that could engross the audience with new ways of seeing and thinking about life. But as one can tell, that story is already being told as it goes along. And already it zigs and zags in different directions because it’s hard to tell what is true to life or merely fictional. That the critic could probably be the director’s inner critic. That his relationships with multiple women could exist as imaginary muses to arouse inspiration. That the film could be reflecting Fellini’s process as he wrote it. Labeling this work as “genius” is an understatement, and I wouldn’t dare call it genius. It’s a humane piece of work.
Striking visuals always calls for a lot of critics’ attention but that’s not clearly the main attraction of this wonderful act. Many things come around that it’s hard to know what is going on. The director has no clear way to figure out how to communicate his story, and it’s probably the most honest thing that anyone, who creates, has ever said. Keep in mind that being a genius is an idealistic label. And it ingrains us to believe that nothing can achieve pure perfection like Fellini has. But much to my chagrin, this is a pretty standoffish statement. In general, Fellini puts himself not on a pedestal, but on a folding chair doing what he does; making things happen. That’s all what I can appreciate about this.