One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a director whose film-and life-is collapsing around him. An early working title for the film was La Bella Confusione (The Beautiful Confusion), and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.
Rome eternal! This one never fades! Better now than ever. If you haven't treated yourself lately, indulge right now!
Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8½ turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.
Now 50 years old, I'd say that Fellini's 8 1/2 is a movie that has definitely lived way past its prime.
As I patiently sat and watched this excruciatingly over-long picture that seemed to contain one "filler" scene after another, I began to seriously ask myself, over & over & over again, what the hell was Fellini's point in all of this nonsense?
I found that this film tried way-way too hard to be too quirky and surreal for its own good. And because of this, its deliberate oddball perspective (that seemed too often to be directorial bulldozing) quickly lost its overall appeal.
Yes. 8 1/2 did contain some very striking b&w camera-work, but the repetitiveness of its imagery soon became one of its greatest downfalls.
I also resented this film's blatant product placement of both the Ford and the Coca-Cola logos. Since this was an Italian production, filmed in Italy, it struck me that this was very likely Fellini's attempt to suck up to the Americans. And, in doing so, this could've easily played a part in 8 1/2 winning its Oscar.
8 1/2 is one of those films that's bound to delight some, while, at the same time, disappoint others (like yours truly here).
*Trivia Note* - This film's title refers to the eight and half films that, up to that point, were credited to Fellini in his career as a director.
The 2009 musical 'Nine' was based upon the 1982 stage musical of the same name, which itself was based upon this famous 1963 film by Fellini.
8 1/2 was outrageous at the time for its tale of a husband philandering and young boys paying a cheap prostitute to dance for them. The story seemed to wander as the protagonist was incapable of taking any action, due to his inner conflicts caused by the many woment in his life who sought to please him. Having it all seems too much! The story is also about a film director attempting to make a movie but not knowing what his own film is about, but the many people in his life are demanding to be pleased.
How does NINE differ from 8 1/2? The earlier film is in black & white and has some very striking images. It is of course the original, and so comes up with the story line and the many scenes. Partly dream-like, in an era when many films were showing the influence of Freud, the director saw no need to be logical or conclusive, and the real and the dream worlds are separated with difficulty. The later film is in colour and is a musical with several song & dance numbers. The dream-like quality is mostly lost, with memories replacing dreams. The director sees a need to be more logical and consistent, mostly likely to please viewer expectations. Both films star a number of the most famously beautiful women of the day, all seeking to please this one man. The earlier film contains a scene not in the later film, in which all his women are present to please the protagonist to excess in a way that is surprising at first, comic secondly, but ultimately hellish. Perhaps this is a morality tale after all.
I found this movie very amusing. There are some very impressive cinematic techniques for its time.
Fellini finds a way to depict life and human frailty in a near perfect film about film. Marcello Mastroianni is terrific as the director who no longer seems to recognize any line between his life and art. Beautifully photographed by Gianni Di Venanzo, the dream is life. Fellini is a director whom I began to explore years ago and then kind of stalled. With this film, I think it is time to dig back in. I am so glad the Port Moody library carries things like this. What a great resource for film lovers, especially now with the demise of the video store (not that the ones in my area were that good. They certainly didn`t carry the quality of foreign titles I`ve found at Port Moody of late). Oh and I love Claudia Cardinale and Anouk Aimee, in this and other films, but here they are wonderful as the two main objects of Fellini/Mastroianni's desire and confusion. Masterpiece.
I remember having to sneak into the International Cinema on Manor Rd and Yonge Street in Toronto to see this because it was restricted - and in those days... they were really 'strict' about us underage movie-lovers trying to get into controversial films like this... By today's standards, of course... you have to ask: What's the big fuss?!!! LOL... Ah mama mia! - 'Nostalgia' ain't what it used to be! Anyway... As a teenager this movie had my eyes open like saucers... I couldn't believe adults could conduct themeselves with such debauchery! Of course... I also thought Fellini was a genius (lol... I was in good company - so did most of the Western world!) Now... seeing it again... I think that Fellini was a narcissist who couldn't look up long enough, from staring at his navel, to see what truly great life the rest of the world was enjoying all around him! The acting in the film is superb, of course, and Marcello is at his best, being both lovable and an absolute scoundrel! ...Still a 'sexy' movie... after all these years!
The best examination of what it's like to be in charge of an artistic endeavour ever created. It could be a play, it could be a movie, it could be a dance; whatever.
Something that bears repeated viewing just to get all the material in it. No wonder Terry Gilliam loves it!
A good foreign film that influenced directors like Wes Anderson, Spielberg, Gondry, and Selick. Beautifully shot and well written, 8 1/2 is the basis for the 2009 movie Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
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