Thursday, June 14, 2007


Ok, the votes are in and the people have spoken--the weekly download is going to be rare albums, no films. As a man of the people, I will concede to your wishes, but the film lover in me is still going to push some great cinema on you with this week's selection.

I can remember the first time I ever got the overwhelming urge to pick up a camera and shoot a film. I was 16 years old and having raided the local Video World shelves of every Martin Scorcese and Woody Allen film they had, I turned my precocious little dilettante attention to the foreign film section. It was a huge cultural awakening to say the least, entering into completely different worlds of cinema: the existential angst of Bergman, the romantic nostalgia of Truffaut, the hip Maoism of Godard...but the film that really blew my mind and made me want to be a filmmaker was Federico Fellini's "8 1/2".

"8 1/2" was Fellini's follow-up to his hugely successful epic on the Italian cognoscenti, "La Dolce Vita". With a large budget & tremendous pressure from producers to make a follow-up hit, Fellini nearly had a nervous breakdown. Instead of throwing in the towel however, he delved inward to explore his fears, guilts, loves & joys in one of the most personal (yet, strangely, also the most universal) films he would make ("Amarcord" is another that has this trait).

If the brilliant cinematic innovations (this is the film that started the "film about film" concept, never again pulled off as well by the imitators) and gorgeous cinematography were not enough, the film also has one of the most energetic and powerful scores ever to be written. Composed by the brilliant Nino Rota (who worked with Fellini on dozens of his films), the circus-like chaos of the soundtrack matches the inner turmoil of the main character, Fellini's doppelganger Guido, as he balances the wispy daydreams and fantasies of an imaginative man-child with the panic-inducing demands of marriage, catholic guilt, artistic integrity & business.

It's a soundtrack that never ceases to fill me with a sense of nostalgia and wonder; I hope you enjoy it too.


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