Federico Fellini quotes

Wit and wisdom from the great Italian director behind La dolce vita and 8½.


Federico Fellini directing Amarcord (1974)

Federico Fellini directing Amarcord (1974)

A director whose name loomed large over his films, Federico Fellini was one of the great Italian filmmakers in modern cinema. From early classics such as La strada (1954) via arthouse sensations such as La dolce vita (1960) and 8½ (1963), his work is an exuberant affirmation of life and art.

On seeing films

“Going to the cinema is like returning to the womb; you sit there, still and meditative in the darkness, waiting for life to appear on the screen.”

On making films

“Even if I set out to make a film about a fillet of sole, it would be about me.”

On films and dreams

“Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams; years can pass in a second and you can hop from one place to another. It’s a language made of image. And in the real cinema, every object and every light means something as in a dream.”

On being faithful

“It’s easier to be faithful to a restaurant than it is to a woman.”

On realism

“Realism is a bad word. In a sense everything is realistic. I see no line between the imaginary and the real.”

On censors

“Censorship is advertising paid by the government.”

On beginnings and endings

“A good opening and a good ending make for a good film provided they come close together.”

On artists

“The artist is the medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world.”

“What is an artist? A provincial who finds himself somewhere between a physical reality and a metaphysical one. It’s this in-between…this frontier country between the tangible world and the intangible one – which is really the realm of the artist.”

On hype

“Hype is the awkward and desperate attempt to convince journalists that what you’ve made is worth the misery of having to review it.”

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