Nothing is more fulfilling than the creative process. Nothing is more tormented, either. Usually, the ends justify the means, the art produced (or in some case, the crass product manufactured) validating all the fears, flaws, and failures. This is especially true in film, where so many collaborative elements have to successfully come together to form the final vision. One sour facet, and forget it. On the other hand, if the vision at the center can’t stand up to scrutiny, no amount of artisanship can supplant it. Indeed, for many, art is all about imagination and inspiration first, it’s competent realization second.
For Federico Fellini, one of the greatest director’s of all time, insight comes from the strangest places. After the worldwide embrace for his seminal La Dolce Vita, the maestro became enamored of Carl Jung’s focus on the “extrasensory perceptions” of his own intuitive muse. Call it gut feeling over preplanned sensitivity. Incorporating said dream logic and imagery into his already established neorealistic style, the resulting “experiment”, the brilliant 8½, (meta-named for the number of films Fellini had “directed” up to this point in his career) would signal the beginning of an amazing run of self-referential, collective unconscious masterworks. It also explained how art not only imitates life, but frequently fuses with and redefines both.