These were, of course, the opening lines of the 2009 musical "Nine".
(I watched "Nine" again the other night, and unlike most reviewers who found much to dislike, I actually liked it more... Perhaps just having returned from Rome, I felt, among other things, that "Nine" captured a certain Italian mindset.... And the spirit of Fellini was most strong. "Nine" holds a musical prism to Fellini, and Fellini's humor and visual generosity show brightly.
See "8-1/2" and then watch "Nine". I think "Nine" is a worthy contemporary rendering of [and companion-piece to] a masterwork of one of my cinematic idols.)
The quote sets up the central crisis in the film; creative malaise. In the character Guido's case, he is blocked by his conflicting cultural expectations, experiences, and fantasies. "Nine" is a concoction borne of Guido's psyche and mind. It is Guido's ninth film, an ambitious exploration of the country itself titled "Italia". Guido cannot articulate his dream, which is fully formed inside his mind.
"Nine" is actually the film Guido will succeed in creating at the end of the film.
The idea of creative panic does not seem to trouble the creators of much current popular cinema.
This tendency for today's popular filmmakers to plumb old ideas, and their assumption that the "magic demographic" of moviegoers will keep buying tickets, is just one of the elements that are troubling today's movies, and disappointing those who believe there is a place on the local multiplex screens for stories that reflect what's happening today, in this world, something more closely approaching the pleasures of art and literature.
The quote from "Nine" is a good place to begin my discussion, over the next week or so, about what role film criticism plays in today's movie landscape.
I hope you'll be back to discuss this with me.