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8 1/2 - Criterion Collection (1963)

1 rating: 5.0
Art House & International and Classics movie directed by Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini's 1963 semi-autobiographical story about a worshipped filmmaker who has lost his inspiration is still a mesmerizing mystery tour that has been quoted (Woody Allen'sStardust Memories, Paul Mazursky'sAlex in Wonderland) but never duplicated. … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Federico Fellini
1 review about 8 1/2 - Criterion Collection (1963)

Applaud the man with no clear ideas

  • Jan 3, 2008
I have to admit that I didn't fully understand Federico Fellini's 8 ½. I got a little confused with the constant interchange between Guido's dreams, fantasies, memories, and present events. Although it was easy to distinguish the reality from fantasy, I did not fully understand the reason for these fantasies and what they were about. Having already seen a similar great mind game movie "Mulholland Dr." without a doubt, 8 ½ is one of the best movies made about filmmaking. Many believe that master director Federico Fellini based the movie on himself and his struggles. The movie appears semi-autobiographical because the central character in the movie is also a director named Guido Anselmi, played brilliantly by Marcello Mastroianni. It is about Guido's confusion on what his next movie is about. While trying to reach a decision, Guido also confronts his own personal problems.

Guido is already a successful and famous director. And for his next film, a science fiction one, he asked the studio for a massive construction of a prop spaceship. The construction cost the studio millions of Liras, but they did it anyway because they are confident with Guido's abilities. Before filming starts, Guido had a nervous breakdown that made him think about what he is doing. He then postpones the shoot and tries to rewrite the script. When he could not come up with the story he likes, he believes that he ran out of inspiration. So retreats to his dreams and fantasies to come up with one, while his producer, cast, and crew keep pressuring him to start the shoot.

Aside from his problems with his film's story, he also confronts his problems with his wife Luisa (Anouk Aimee) and his mistress Carla (Sandra Milo). Guido invites Luisa to the set even though he knows Carla is there. Guido is even careless enough to let the two women be present at the same place. Luisa knows about Guido's affair with Carla, but Guido keeps insisting her that its over. Fellini's directing is excellent. He gracefully guides the audience inside what is clearly a troubled man's mind. Sometimes, Fellini does not show a transition from the realities to the fantasies, but we know that it's only a fantasy because it couldn't have happened in reality. We take a journey through Guido's mind. From his memories of dancing with a prostitute as a child to a fantasy where he has all the woman in his life in the same room. Fellini's camera work is amazing, and he also added some entertaining dance sequences.

My only criticism here is that it takes the movie too long to get off the ground. It seems to be stuck in its launching pad at some times. Some scenes and sequences are a little too long and extended. Nonetheless, 8 ½ is still amazing and captivating. It exhibits and plays gently with the mind. 8 ½ is one of the stalwarts of foreign cinema, and I recommend this movie to movie lovers who want to see the works of Fellini.

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