Chicago Sun-Times - 05/28/2000
"...8 1/2 is the best film ever made about filmmaking....The film weaves in and out of reality and fantasy....It is a film filled to bursting with inspiration..."
USA Today - 12/28/2001
"...The most famous screen treatise ever about the illogical undertaking of making a movie..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/11/2002
"...The greatest mind-game movie ever..."
Premiere - 12/01/2003
"...[T]he ideas and texture of 8 1/2 have never ceased to be an inspiration to artists everywhere..."
Empire - 02/01/2009
"[T]he film teems with Jungian imagery, while grappling with the alienating effects of modernity and, overall, the exasperating quest for contentment in an arbitrary and uncertain world."
Los Angeles Times - 04/23/2010
"[T]his film retains an ability to enthrall and delight that has not diminished over the years."
Federico Fellini's Oscar-nominated 8 1/2 is a masterpiece of storytelling and cinema. The most autobiographical of Fellini's films, the plot of which concerns a 43-year-old film director who is having a midlife crisis, it is a career benchmark for this magnificent Italian New Wave director. Beautifully choreographed with flashbacks, dream sequences, exaggerated fantasy scenes, and magical surrealist episodes, 8 1/2 is one of the richest, most exuberant movies ever made, in the mode of Fellini's artfully abstract LA DOLCE VITA and AMARCORD.
Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is at a crisis point in his life and his work; in the opening sequence, Guido, suffocating, is caught in traffic with the windows of his car locked shut. He climbs out of the sunroof and literally rises up over the highway into the clouds, seemingly free, when he realizes there's a rope tied around his ankle that is violently pulling him back to earth. Cutting from this dream to the health spa where Guido is trying to recapture his creativity and write the screenplay for his next film, his vices become clear: Guido is self-absorbed, and he's distracted by the fabulous cast of actresses, intellectuals, and eccentrics who have joined him at the spa. Additionally he struggles with Freudian complexes about his wife (Anouk Aimée), his lover (Sandro Milo), his ideal woman (Claudia Cardinale), and his dead parents; and his repressive Catholic guilt follows him everywhere like a haunting mist.
A fascinating, surreal view of a filmmaker's efforts to develop a new project, 8 1/2 stars Fellini regular Marcello Mastroianni in this semiautobiographical piece about a movie director's midlife crisis. Replete with fabulous performances and signature Fellini visual touches, it stars Anouk Aimée, Sandro Milo, and Claudia Cardinale. 8 1/2 is a touching, hilarious, and meditative viewing experience.
Essential Cinema |
Fantasy Worlds |
Film About Film |
Self Analysis |
Theatrical Release |
Theatrical Release: June 25, 1963.
The title marks the number of films that Fellini had made by 1963. Although 8 1/2 was actually Fellini's ninth film, his first two films were directorial collaborations: VARIETY LIGHTS (with Alberto Lattuada) and THE WHITE SHEIK (with Arturo Galea).
Academy Award Nominations: 5, including Best Director, Best (Original) Story and Screenplay. Academy Awards: Best (Black-and-White) Costume Design, Best Foreign Film.
This film is considered to be the favorite of Fellini fans. It is likewise heralded by critics, directors, film-buffs, and scholars as having created its own unique cinematic language. Fellini's ability to capture the frustration of a director who cannot answer the questions asked of him by a stream of actors, journalists, and agents is what most industry professionals admire about the film. For Fellini fans, it is the way that the director shows Guido's total frustration with his love life, his ego, his creative ability, and his past by leading viewers on a tour of his bizarre psyche.
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