Federico Fellini’s List of His 10 Favorite Films … Including One of His Own

Film fans have few stronger vices, I would sub­mit, than the mak­ing of lists. But we can take some small mea­sure of con­so­la­tion from the fact that cer­tain auteurs have occa­sion­al­ly done it too. Yes they make their own lists of favorite films. Quentin Taran­ti­no has done it. So have Stan­ley Kubrick and Woody Allen. Same with Andrei Tarkovsky, Susan Son­tag and Aki­ra Kuro­sawa. And then there’s one of the most inter­est­ing lists — that of Fed­eri­co Felli­ni, which orig­i­nal­ly appeared in Sight and Sound. It runs as fol­lows:

  1. The Cir­cus/City Lights/Monsieur Ver­doux (1928,31,47, Charles Chap­lin)
  2. Any Marx Broth­ers or Lau­rel and Hardy
  3. Stage­coach (1939, John Ford)
  4. Rashomon (1950, Aki­ra Kuro­sawa)
  5. The Dis­creet Charm of the Bour­geoisie (1972, Luis Bunuel)
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stan­ley Kubrick)
  7. Paisan (1946, Rober­to Rosselli­ni)
  8. The Birds (1963, Alfred Hitch­cock)
  9. Wild Straw­ber­ries (1957, Ing­mar Bergman)
  10. 8 1/2 (1963, Fed­eri­co Felli­ni)

Nev­er a slave to restraint, Felli­ni bends the tac­it rules of list-mak­ing in a few dif­fer­ent ways here. He includes not one but three films, all by Char­lie Chap­lin, in the top spot, ranks the com­plete comedic works of both the Marx Broth­ers (whose 1928 The Cir­cus you can watch above) and Lau­rel and Hardy in third place, and, in the most auda­cious act of all, adds a movie of his own to the list. Maybe the fact that he puts it at num­ber ten scores him a humil­i­ty point?

Then again, the direc­tor of La Dolce VitaSatyri­con, and Juli­et of the Spir­its could have found his dis­tinc­tive­ly grotesque and cel­e­bra­to­ry world­view real­ized nowhere but in his own work. And upon reflec­tion, putting 8 1/2 in last place looks over­mod­est. “I have seen 8 1/2 over and over again, and my appre­ci­a­tion only deep­ens,” wrote Roger Ebert in a piece on the film. “It does what is almost impos­si­ble: Felli­ni is a magi­cian who dis­cuss­es, reveals, explains and decon­structs his tricks, while still fool­ing us with them. He claims he does­n’t know what he wants or how to achieve it, and the film proves he knows exact­ly, and rejoic­es in his knowl­edge.” And he knew he was damn good.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Andrei Tarkovsky Cre­ates a List of His 10 Favorite Films (1972)

Ing­mar Bergman Eval­u­ates His Fel­low Film­mak­ers — The “Affect­ed” Godard, “Infan­tile” Hitch­cock & Sub­lime Tarkovsky

Woody Allen Lists the Great­est Films of All Time: Includes Clas­sics by Bergman, Truf­faut & Felli­ni

Mar­tin Scors­ese Reveals His 12 Favorite Movies (and Writes a New Essay on Film Preser­va­tion)

Stan­ley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Cre­at­ed)

Roger Ebert’s Final List of His Top 10 Favorite Films (2012)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Nik Willmore says:

    “I have nev­er been very good at dis­tin­guish­ing between what is real and what is not. All artists are ded­i­cat­ed to mate­ri­al­iz­ing their fan­tasies and then to shar­ing these fan­tasies. Their cre­ations are fan­ci­ful, emo­tion­al, irra­tional, intu­itive. I start out direct­ing, but some­thing else takes over. Then I real­ly believe it’s not me who’s direct­ing the film; it’s the film whose direct­ing me.” — Fed­eri­co Felli­ni (I, Felli­ni)

  • Lewis says:

    I am so curi­ous about where the list of Felli­ni Ten Favourite movies come from? Which issue of Sight and Sound Mag­a­zine pub­lished this?

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