Thursday, July 19, 2007
8½; satire, Italy / France, 1963; D: Federico Fellini, S: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele
Director Guido dreams that he is trapped in a car, then that he is suddenly flying and falling into the sea. Suddenly he wakes up in the hospital. Mario and his girlfriend Gloria, Guido's friends, ask him when he is going to make his next film, but the famous director doesn't currently have any inspiration. Luisa, Guido's wife, comes with the train to visit him, while he is having an affair with Claudia. Because of the pressure, Guido starts filming scenes completely irrespectively, falling into hallucinations, not knowing what to do with the in advance made set for a Sci-Fi film. At the conference, he finally announces he gives up from filming.
There are two opinions about Federico Fellini's career. For some, all of his films are great and pieces of art. For the other, only his logical, early realistic films were excellent, while those filmed since "8 1/2", made out of surreal-abstract episodes, seem like senseless and void ego trips. Abstract "8 1/2" has a very unusual and clever meta-film story since it's actually a film about director's block, a thin but very stylish self analysis of Fellini about himself, where Marcelo Mastroianni's character of director Guido is actually a symbol for Fellini. In a nutshell, the author didn't have a idea for a film, so he made a film about his own events where he doesn't know what to film. Because of that, the whole tone is deliberately pretentious and ironic (in one scene the screenwriter complains to Guido because he suspects the audience won't understand their film made out of symbolic and "crazy" episodes), but the film is slightly overrated since it is overlong due to its 130 minutes of running time while the end is senseless, though many of Guido's hallucinations are expressionistic (Guido dreams he is flying over the beach and looking at his own leg tied with a rope to the ground; a priest says to a boy how he should look up to Luigi who didn't even want talk to "disgusting" women). Indeed, a large part of the audience won't understand the film, but it has sufficient satirical autobiographical details, since even the title of the film, 8 1/2, refers to the total number of films Fellini had previously directed: six films plus three collaborations, making this production number eighth and a half. A quality, though still overhyped art-film, with a very artificial story flow.