8 ½

This post is in the theme Influences on my own Creative Work. Read the first.

Sunday, January 18: And last night, just before midnight, I finished watching Fellini’s 8 ½. A fitting end, I think, to the Thirty-Three Project. This is one of my absolute favorite films; I have never not enjoyed watching it. Marcello Mastroianni and his black suit and his little black cowboy hat and his never-ending parade of beautiful actresses. It’s visually striking, it’s funny, it’s honest, but also, 8 ½ is about memoir, about struggling to tell one’s own story. This is something I’ve spent the last year of my life doing.

I mentioned in my post about The Battle of Algiers that if I made a narrative film I would want to make a film like that one. The truth is, I would probably try to make a film like 8 ½. (“Try” being the operative word here). Throughout my life, and especially in my creative work, I’ve found myself pulled back to memoir, or at least drawing deeply from the well of personal experience. Of the material I wrote in college, the strongest now seems to be the things that were ripped from life. And the best moments I found in Drain the Gulf! were borrowed from life, as well. And then I spent a year writing about myself.

So, this is the perfect film to end the Thirty-Three Project. A story about a story-teller telling the story of his own life.

And now, I can grab hands with all my memories and dance in a line down the beach, around the rocketship, happily facing the next thirty-three years of media consumption.

You really should own a copy of 8 ½, by the way. Buy it here on the ol’ Internet.

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