Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, his 1963 semi-autobiographical story about a worshipped filmmaker who has lost his inspiration, is still a mesmerising mystery tour that has been quoted (Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland) but never duplicated. Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido, a director trying to relax a bit in the wake of his latest hit. Besieged by people eager to work with him, however, he also struggles to find his next idea for a film. The combined pressures draw him within himself, where his recollections of significant events in his... life and the many lovers he has left behind begin to haunt him. The marriage of Fellini's hyper real imagery, dreamy sidebars and the gravity of Guido's increasing guilt and self-awareness make this as much a deeply moving, soulful film as it is an electrifying spectacle. Mastroianni is wonderful in the lead, his woozy sensitivity to Guido's freefall both touching and charming--all the more so as the character becomes increasingly divorced from the celebrity hype that ultimately outpaces him. --Tom Keogh [show more]
Put down whatever you are doing and go purchase a copy of this film. It is breathtakingly brilliant and needs to be watched if you have any interest in film, or filmmaking for that matter. This film has a little bit of everything and is a brilliant reflection of the talent possessed by Federico Fellini. It has a dizzying plot the never lets the viewer rest. It has some fantastic pieces of music sewn into its very seams. Beautiful women that ooze class and sophistication mixed with some humour and a dash of the surreal, what more could you want from a film? Like many classic before and after it, it is tremendously difficult to add anything new to the discussion of such a renowned film. It seems as though all has been said and explored about the film, but I will try my hardest to draw forth an entertaining review.
This dream like trance of a movie sees Marcello Mastroianni star as Guido Anselmi; a creatively lacking Italian film director that has become almost paralysed by the pressures that surround him. From the marital strife to the crushing weight of the producers constant hounding of the advancement of Guido's next production, you are given a thorough glimpse into the turmoil faced by our protagonist. With this film you are firmly thrown into the deep side of the pool and basically left to sink or swim with it. What I mean by this is that nothing is really ever pointed out to you. You are left to your own devices as a viewer. What you take from it is complete up to you. If you choose to dig deep into the film and find whatever it is that gives you satisfaction then so be it. If on the other hand you wish to take the film as it is then that is perfectly fine, with such perfect performances from the entire cast who can blame you.
What is more remarkable is the fact that Fellini was not afraid to risk alienating an audience with this piece of work. It was a semi-autobiographical piece that I get the sense he chose to film in a way that suited him and not the audience of the film.
If it was released today it would have perhaps needed a few more explosions and perhaps a Christian Bale cameo to keep today's generation of cinema goers entertained. But thankfully Fellini stood firm and put what he wanted into the film, and for that we should all be gracious. In regards to films today, it would have been interesting to see what Fellini would have been able to produce with the advancements in cinema today. Would he be as rewarded or praised as he stands today? For me it has to be a yes. I believe his work if produce in today's culture would be even more intelligent and intricate than the ones he produced in his time. This review is moving into a complete different area of discussion, but that is the effect Fellini's 8 ½ has on you. It lingers deep in the subconscious and buries itself into your psyche. It gets you thinking about film in a new way once you view it. Your glitz and glam vision of film is tarnished and your eyes are opened to the sickly dark and grimacing grain that infests the land of cinema. Thankfully the positives of cinema are not stripped bare as there is a lasting glimpse of hope that hangs on, and it is more than welcomed.
I have already made it very clear in the beginning of my review on whether or not you should pick this up. It is very much an enthusiastic yes and it really does need to be watched by any aspiring filmmakers to show both the highs and lows you may face in a career in cinema.
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