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Film Directing Fundamentals, 2nd Edition by Nicholas Proferes

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Chapter 15

Federico Fellini's 8-1/2

A Masterpiece?

When I show 8-1/2 in my lecture at Columbia, most of the students in a class of 65 respond to it in probably the way Fellini hoped an audience would: amused by the foibles and weaknesses of an artist attempting to give birth in a world that is quite unsympathetic to his dilemma. (Fellini regarded this film as a comedy and had taped a sign above the eyepiece of the camera: “This is a comedy.”)

Film students are naturally interested in gaining some insight into this specific dilemma, in which they hope someday to be embroiled themselves. But this dilemma — will Guido make a movie? — is only the McGuffin (a term coined by Hitchcock, which stands for any object or device that exists solely for initiating ...

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