Don’t believe the artists

This essey comes with a quote :>

Probably you should often ask yourself if your life is going in the right direction, or maybe do you need to drop some bad habits and a few other questions of this kind. But when you’re done and ready to improve your imperfect self once again, here comes Fellini with a bag of tricks and you know that it’s trouble ahead.

<read on>

With 8 ½ he paints a vivid picture. It may be partly autobiographical. He shows a famous director stuck by the worst illness. His creativity is damaged, his artistic skills are diminished. There is pleasure abound, women in all shapes and sizes, expensive hotels, dark glasses and clean suits. It’s a party from dusk till down. The movie that should be around the corner is, so far, only a ghost, it’s frighteningly shapeless. The director is drowning but still he prefers to escape with a star, seduce a new victim and try his luck with another beauty. He tells her the words above. He gives reasons why he can’t concentrate, why he peeks in every direction but misses the main path. It’s some kind of permanent fear, fear of losing something better. It’s some kind of a perfectionist curse, at a moment when no perfection is in sight, it’s a devastating writers’ block. He seems completely lost.

Here is the point mentioned in the introduction. It should be time for him to stop and reflect on his doings, then change his behavior. Of course, he doesn’t even try. For him, this is not the end; this is still a situation he can survive. It’s how his movie starts and this is what his movie shows. For those of us who have watched it’s another victory lap, another manifestation of Fellini’s greatness.

Not everyone realizes what is happening though. It might look like he wants to say: alright, let me just show you how I try to create with no success, I’ll show you why I can’t keep up lately, you can witness my demise, I’ll be honest this time. But it’s not what he really does, although it seems so. This is a show for people to relate to, emotions of being under, being inert, the dramatic, yet spectacular fall. For Fellini it’s a start, he doesn’t have to change his life. He had known it all along. He knew that what he did was so intense, such a fresh idea that it must be an artistic victory in the end. Don’t believe he has just turned on the camera to show his sorrow, and then magically things got into place. That’s it only on the surface. But the way in which he works, his energy, the dreams he puts into it, the artistic decisions are all blasting expressions of creativity; in other words signs of his perfect, artistic well-being. There was no chance factor whatsoever.

He was already a level above, he looked at himself and took a step back and made a movie. Here, at the moment that he stepped he had to be quite alright. He had to be already fully awake, he was already registering and making a film unconsciously in his head. He was in the race, in the zone. Otherwise he would have no self-confidence, he would dismiss any idea, and he would at best go to sleep without dreaming. It wasn’t a case brilliant luck. What we still perceive as down and as a dangerous situation, was for him the exciting start. No one before was able to see art in that kind of situation. But as we are talking about Fellini he could see more, much more.

PS: It’s just my artistic vision of the situation, I haven’t based on any facts about the production of 8 ½. One day I’ll check how far from truth this is. Or maybe we’ll never know. So this here is just a guess, an essay on art and creative process. Hopefully it’s as chaotic as Fellini would like it to be.

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