Best Films of Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini, Italian filmmaker

Italian maestro Federico Fellini is widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. In a career spanning over four decades, Fellini made a plethora of sui generis, hypnotic masterpieces that over the years, just like their creator, have attained apotheosis. Such was Fellini's authority over his highly personal works that it gave rise to a cinematic jargon called Felliniesque. Over the years, the word "Felliniesque" has developed into an adjective used to describe the works of cinema that, in the manner of Fellini's oeuvre, deal with fantastical or surrealistic motifs. Another example of Fellini's unparalleled influence as a filmmaker par-excellence is the word "Paparazzo", which is often used to describe a freelance photographer who pursues celebrities to get photographs of them. Today very much a part of the English vocabulary, Paparazzo was the name of a pesky photographer in Fellini's 1960 masterpiece, La Dolce Vita. And then there is Fellini's 1963 masterpiece and magnum opus which he cheekily named as 8½ (Otto e Mezzo)a drama-cum-fantasy semi-autobiographical film starring renowned Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni in the lead role. The cheeky title actually refers to the fact that this was Fellini's eighth and a half film as a director having previously made six feature films, two short segments, and a collaboration with another director, the latter three being tantamount to a "half" film each, thus adding up the total to seven and a half films. 

Fellini's staunch critics audaciously referred to him as a narcissist and deemed his singular works self-indulgent and self-gratifying. Their myopic vision made them overlook the fact that narcissism and solipsism are the very virtues that give form to art and aesthetics. A true artist uses these traits to isolate himself from the worldly pursuits so that he can create a connect with the divine and attain a sense of enlightenment. He then pours his heart out and offers it selflessly in form of his art. Thus, the artist's apparent self-indulgence is actually a means to share his hard earned and newly acquired knowledge with the rest of the world. Fellini too like any true artist gave his audience what he thought they deserved: a product of his intellect and vision with the sole motive of titillating their senses and inspiring their vision. The master filmmaker never compromised his art and often took enormous risks to make it see the light of the day. Fellini's unrestrained, audacious genius as an artist is most visible in works like 8½ (1963), Fellini - Satyricon (1969), Amarcord (1973), and Giulietta degli spiriti (1965). Fellini, along with the likes of Akira KurosawaIngmar BergmanLuis Bunuel, Robert Bresson, Satyajit Ray and Andrei Tarkovsky, played a pivotal role in the emergence of cinema as the defining art form of the 20th century.  

Top 10 Movies by Federico Fellini (as per IMDb user ratings)

2). Nights of Cabiria (1957)
3). La Dolce Vita (1960)
4). 8½ (1963)
5). Amarcord (1973)
6). I Vitelloni (1953)
7). Il bidone (1955)
8). And the Ship Sails On (1983)
9). Giulietta degli spiriti (1965)
10). Lo sceicco bianco (1952)

Top 5 Movies by Federico Fellini (Author’s Pick)

1). 8½ (1963)
2). La Dolce Vita (1960)
3). La strada (1954)
4). Fellini - Satyricon (1969)
5). Nights of Cabiria (1957)

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  1. Always wanted to know more about Felini..but was lazy to read up..thanks to this I did.

  2. I am really glad that you found the article useful. Please do come back to share your experiences once you have significantly explored his oeuvre :-)

  3. A very insightful post. I'm mightily impressed by Fellini's influence. Thanks for this wonderful read, Murtaza. :)

  4. Thanks Vaishali... I am really glad that you liked it :-)

  5. A list every cinema-lover should savor. La strada (1954),Nights of Cabiria (1957),La Dolce Vita (1960),8½ (1963),Amarcord (1973), these movies are ageless, and an unforgettable experience. Still haven't seen Satyricon.

  6. This is a great overview and introduction to Fellini's work.

  7. Thanks... I really am glad you liked it! :-P

  8. Great job as always! Murtaza.

  9. Another excellent piece of writing Murtaza. I am a huge Fellini fan (he's up there with Hitchcock, Ford, Bergman and Welles in my top 5 favourite directors) and I have most of his work on dvd.

  10. An undisputed master of cinema... I am really glad you liked the post. Btw, could you share your favorite Fellini films off the top of your head? :-)

  11. Once upon a time sitting at the cubicle in Gurgaon. Time n again it feels so wonderful on seeing ur known one shining in his field of interest all around.


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