Federico Fellini, Born 94 Years Ago Today, Writes a Gushing Letter to Legendary Cartoonist, Moebius


If you believe that artis­tic col­lab­o­ra­tions occur in the after­life, few could sound more intrigu­ing than one between the cre­ators pic­tured, in life, above: Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, born 94 years ago today and gone for the past twen­ty, and Jean Giraud, who passed in 2012. The Ital­ian direc­tor Felli­ni, we need hard­ly explain, made such haunt­ing­ly flam­boy­ant films as La Dolce Vita, and Satyri­con. The Fran­co-Bel­gian com­ic artist Giraud, bet­ter known as Mœbius, took his form to its high­est aes­thet­ic lev­el with works like Arzach, The Air­tight Garage of Jer­ry Cor­nelius, The Incal, and, under his alter­nate pseu­do­nym Gir, the uncon­ven­tion­al Wild-West series Blue­ber­ry. (You can learn more by watch­ing the doc­u­men­tary In Search of Mœbius, pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here.) Reflect, for a moment, on what bizarre, fan­tas­ti­cal, yet psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly con­crete visions these two imag­i­na­tions could togeth­er real­ize.

Click for larg­er image

Felli­ni quite admired Giraud, con­sid­er­ing him at the lev­el of Picas­so and Matisse. On Ital­ian tele­vi­sion, he once called him “a unique tal­ent endowed with an extra­or­di­nary vision­ary imag­i­na­tion that’s con­stant­ly renewed and nev­er vul­gar” who “dis­turbs and con­soles” and pos­sess­es “the abil­i­ty to trans­port us into unknown worlds where we encounter unset­tling char­ac­ters.” The 1979 let­ter above, which Felli­ni wrote while shoot­ing City of Women, con­tin­ues this line of praise in a direct man­ner. “Every­thing you do pleas­es me,” he says. “Even your name pleas­es me.” He describes the qual­i­ties of Mœbius’ work that con­tin­ue to win him admir­ers, from “the joy and enthu­si­asm your draw­ings exude” (which “demand of me a great pre­ci­sion”) to “the light­ing tech­nique you use” to feel­ing “sus­pend­ed weight­less­ly in one of your oblique uni­vers­es.” But above all the oth­er lines, one aside in par­tic­u­lar gets my own imag­i­na­tion run­ning: “What a great film direc­tor you would make! Have you ever thought about it?”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Inscrutable Imag­i­na­tion of the Late Com­ic Artist Mœbius

Fed­eri­co Felli­ni Intro­duces Him­self to Amer­i­ca in Exper­i­men­tal 1969 Doc­u­men­tary

Fellini’s Fan­tas­tic TV Com­mer­cials

Felli­ni + Abrams = Super 8½

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, Asia, film, lit­er­a­ture, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on his brand new Face­book page.

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