It was I who made Fellini famous, not the other way around.

— Anita Ekberg

Unusual Fellini quotations

When I first saw a Fellini movie, I came out of the movie theatre and decided to become a lawyer! I thought to myself, it's impossible to make something so beautiful!

My star was kind of fading towards the end of the '60s and suddenly I got this call from Fellini, who just appeared to kind of love me!

I remember, the first time I saw a [Andrei] Tarkovsky film, I was shocked by it.

I didn't know what to do. I was fascinated, because suddenly I realized that film could have so many more layers to it than what I had imagined before. Then others, like Kurosawa and Fellini, were like a new discovery for me, another country.

When I'm on stage, it's really intense.

My mind is going a million miles an hour, trying to remember my act, trying to say it all the right way. It's funny how different it looks and how it's happening. There are three Fellini circuses in my head, and outwardly it looks like I'm going to get a bagel.

When the film was presented in New York, the distributor reproduced the fountain scene on a billboard as high as a skyscraper. My name was in the middle in huge letters, Fellini's was at the bottom, very tiny. Now the name of Fellini has become very great, mine very little.

Fellini, Kurosawa, and Bunuel move in the same field as Tarkovsky.

Antonioni was on his way, but expired, suffocated by his own tediousness.

With Fellini, the fear dropped out of my work because it was such a happy experience... hanging out with Fellini, having pasta on the set with Fellini, and going out with Fellini!

I suppose I like to set myself projects that are tight, focused, and then challenge myself with how broad I can go within that limited aspect. I think to Helmut Newton and film director, Federico Fellini - the added level of eroticism, the arousing message - and how it was possible for them to keep their signatures over so many years.

To evoke the classic period of Italian cinema in a little film seemed like a great, fun thing to do. I had relations to that period. I had known Fellini and I had known Antonioni. I had made a movie with Antonioni and I had visited Fellini in his studios. So, it seemed like something worthwhile doing. You bring yourself to that mythical cinema.

But, I'm a big Johnny Cash and a big Lou Reed fan and a Fellini fan.

I was influenced by European movies, old Fellini, old Kurosawa - any sort of foreign film.

I realized that a lot of the great directors that I admire from [Ingmar] Bergman to [Fredrico] Fellini re always shooting, then going into the editing room, and shooting again.

Fellini belongs to nature.

I'm inspired heavily by film influences - David Lynch's Blue Velvet, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Pedro Almodóvar, and what I see in the cinema - so there is a linking, an interweaving between memory, cinema and contemporary life, which the women in my pictures encapsulate.

With a few exceptions, Fellini's films have failure and despair running through them: Life continues, but I can't imagine 'Felliniesque' as an exclusively uplifting adjective. Fellini's best films are the ones that distill this essence -- the paradoxical quality of melancholic ecstasy, a surreal, bittersweet vitality -- to perfection.

For me, Fellini was like a watermelon. It is there. A watermelon cannot die.

My favorite favorites are people like Bunuel, Fellini and Charlie Chaplin.

I see wonderful films by Bertolucci, Visconti, and Fellini.

Well, Fellini... there is always Fellini.

One of my favorite scenes in Fellini is the ecclesiastical fashion show in Roma, and the end of 8 ½, when all the characters in the life of Guido, Marcello Mastroianni, get together and do this grand procession. That was on my mind, especially at the 45th anniversary, when all those characters in Valentino's life returned to Rome. I kept watching that and saying, if only we can arrange that grand procession at the end...and it kind of happened.

Ingmar Bergman is a long way from me, but I admire him.

He, too, concentrates a great deal on individuals; and although the individual is what interests him most, we are very far apart. His individuals are very different from mine; his problems are different from mine - but he's a great director. So is Fellini, for that matter.

Fellini was [David] Lynch's master and his biggest idol, and he believed in Fellini's view that film is a dream, it's not reality. It's all about delving into the unconscious.

Fellini is a just a province kid. Rome exists for Fellini, not the other way around.

Film works when a director and a star have a connection.

You know, when there's something telekinetic between them, there's a partnership, it's like alter egos. It's like James Stewart and Alfred Hitchcock, or Fellini and Mastroianni. I'm not comparing, I'm just saying, if you can come into a relationship where the director and star have such a bond, it's so much easier to make a movie.

When you shoot a film, when it was film, there used to be rushes and normally a director would look at them the next day. All directors look at the rushes, except for Fellini. I asked him why he didn't and said, "Because it interrupts my fantasy." What he was trying to say was that he had a three-dimensional, vibrant, living, volatile fantasy going on in his head, and when he looked at rushes, they were two-dimensional and they killed it.

I think we're [me and my son] different.

He plans, organizes and intellectualizes more than I do. It wasn't until I worked with Federico Fellini that I understood what my problem was.

Martin Scorcese is probably America's greatest living director, and while he is not a titan like John Ford or Alfred Hitchcock or Federico Fellini, he is certainly consistently more interesting than Steven Spielberg, Brian de Palma, Francis Ford Coppola or Woody Allen. Even a failure like Gangs of New York or a curiosity like The Aviator is more interesting and ambitious than Munich, The Black Dahlia or Scoop.

There are beauty icons that I can never be like, sorta like a Gena Rowlands - I'll never have that look. I love Giulietta Masina, the great Fellini actress. But I'm probably more Seymour Cassel. Or somewhere between Lou Reed and Nora Ephron?

I wasn't allowed to see movies when I was a child.

It was against the religion I was raised in, Fundamentalist Baptist. I didn't go into a commercial movie house until I was a senior in college, and that was on the sly. It wasn't until I was in graduate school that I immersed myself in films. Then, I went to see all the films by Bergman, Fellini, etc.

If you're not [Federico] Fellini you might make something very vulgar.

Animation made it possible to maintain unity with all these different narratives.

I'm definitely a big believer in the notion that a heightened style can get you closer to an authentic human experience than so-called realism on film. There are films I love that have kind of a muted or realistic style, but for me on any given day I have more moments during the course of a day that feel like a Fellini movie than I do a Cassavettes movie.

That's what I always loved about [Federico] Fellini's films: You see the weird joy of the weird filmmaking family and the abstract craziness that goes along with it, and there's something about it that's quite beautiful.

Most movies shot in Italian don't even bother to record the sound.

In fact, sometimes when Fellini works, he doesn't even know what the dialogue is going to be, and he simply has his characters count from 1 to 10, knowing he will loop in their dialogue later.

I was inspired by Maya Deren because she was the first woman filmmaker whose films I saw. I also loved Fellini and Goddard because they were so different from Hollywood films. But when I saw the cinema verite films that were made by Drew Associates with Leacock and Pennebaker I found my passion.