Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Lust kills art: 8 1/2 (1963) w/ Katy Carl

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 01, 2021 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 is widely considered to be the best film ever made about filmmaking, but it’s about much more than that. Ingenious cinematography and surreal images convey the experience of a man who is increasingly lost in his own memory and fantasy, and so finds himself unable to have real relationships with the people in his life or to bear fruit as an artist.

Not all uses of imagination are equal to the artist. There is a contemplative, receptive use and a possessive, self-indulgent use, and this latter form is antithetical to true art. The protagonist of 8 1/2 may find that his artistic and personal problems, which find him ever more slave to fantasy, may have one and the same solution: fidelity to his wife.

We might ask whether there is really such a thing as “writer’s block” for a true artist, or whether such blocks are due to vice getting in the way of docility and receptivity.

Katy Carl, novelist and editor-in-chief of Dappled Things, joins the show to discuss this film.

8 1/2 can be viewed with a subscription to Criterion Channel or HBO Max, and rented on many other platforms.

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission.

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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