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Fellini - I'm a Born Liar (2003)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 4

No consensus yet.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,167

My Rating

Movie Info

A documentary analyzing the life and career of famed Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-1993), who directed a host of legendary films, including: "8 1/2" (Italy/1963), "Satyricon" (Italy/1969), "La Dolce Vita" (Italy/1960), and "Nights of Cabiria" (Italy/1957). Through interviews with famous talents who worked with him, scenes from his films--both released and unreleased--and interviews with the late director, himself, a chronicle builds which discusses themes of art, creation and the

Dec 2, 2003

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All Critics (43) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (11) | DVD (2)

Fellini came close to painting his thoughts directly onto the screen. Born Liar honors this approach by putting lyricism ahead of clarity. You get the feeling that the maestro would appreciate the results.

July 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pettigrew's movie functions nicely as a posthumous couch trip, with Fellini explaining the soulful puppetry of his art without pulling the curtain up far enough to let you catch him pulling the strings.

July 11, 2003 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A disappointment, not to mention a squandered opportunity.

May 29, 2003
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It goes in circles and wears out its welcome, except for the most hard-core enthusiasts.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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If you know little about Fellini, this is not the place to start. Begin with the films.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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The film, for all its frustrating qualities, does bring us closer to this intriguing, seductive and admittedly devious artist.

May 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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A strange beast, but one lifelong Fellini fans will find irresistible.

July 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Little appears to be filmed for the movie itself, or at least within the last decade, and the caliber tends to be less than a Bravo profile.

April 23, 2004 Full Review Source:

Invaluable for Fellini fans.

March 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The filmmaker acknowledges the contradictions inherent in [Fellini's] surreal style.

October 3, 2003 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Only those who are familiar with or curious about Fellini's work will find it a rewarding experience.

September 11, 2003 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

If you want to learn about Fellini, don't listen to him prattle on. Go rent 8 1/2 instead.

September 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

It almost seems that documentarian Damian Pettigrew didn't have enough Fellini material to draw from.

August 29, 2003 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

There may be better straight introductions to the accomplishments of this most poetic of cinematic artists, but for the already initiated this will serve as a welcome remembrance.

August 4, 2003 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

It's interesting, but I'm not sure how informative this documentary really is. Fellini fans will certainly appreciate it more than the casual moviegoers.

July 25, 2003 Full Review Source:

Fellini, you bastard!

July 24, 2003 Full Review Source: New Times
New Times

Shockingly unilluminating, even dull.

July 20, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A charming piece of history.

May 31, 2003 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

Lyrical and visceral.

May 16, 2003 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Born liar or windbag? Either way, Fellini clearly likes telling women to spread their legs. Wider.

May 14, 2003 Full Review Source:

Includes generous clips of Fellini's great 8 1/2 (1963) which is, to this day, clearly a more compelling Fellini biography than anything Pettigrew could have come up with.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Offers us a close-up look at a director who was foremost a visual master, capable of creating the kind of unsettling images that haunt you forever.

May 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Contra Costa Times
Contra Costa Times

Audience Reviews for Fellini - I'm a Born Liar

This documentary is not for the uninitiated Fellini viewer. If you want to understand the ultimate puppet-master, it's best to view his films for they're all autobiographical. Rather, this film shares Fellini's insights on the artistic impulse and creative process: availability; openness to experience; spontaneity; structure; memory; narration; verisimilitude. The Maestro compares film making to painting because of the interplay of color and light. Donald Sutherland aptly summarizes his greulling directorial process: He (Fellini) has a three dimensional picture already in his head that he is trying to recreate within two dimensions. The division between art and reality is wonderfully blurred. His repeated self-reference to inherent dishonesty renders him truthful!
March 7, 2010

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Foreign Titles

  • Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (Fellini: Je suis un grand menteur) (DE)
  • Fellini: I'm a Born Liar (Fellini: Je suis un grand menteur) (UK)
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