Federico Fellini, 1963
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It's about the difficulty of writing when you've got writer's block, abut the narcissism of trying to adapt your own life and memories into narratives, about the neuroses of a wealthy cosmopolitan Roman Catholic European in the mid-20th Century. ... The film's poetry starts with the opening scene, as Guido escapes from his poisonous car and floats out over and away from a traffic jam and out to the beach, only to be pulled back to earth by annoying people who want him to do stuff. It's one of my favorite scenes in all of film, and the movie only gets weirder, if never quite as funny or beautiful again.
8Ĺ is not Fellini's best film nor is it a masterpiece!
I donít know when I have ever seen a movie so complicated and yet almost perfectly balanced, so fascinating and yet so entertaining, such an equal use of my heart and my head.
Too much pressure, must rewatch in 6 months
Every scene is amazing. You find yourself looking forward to the parts you remember, and during the other parts youíre thinking ďI canít believe I forgot this scene!Ē. For most directors, the meta-narrative about a filmmaker who canít seem to make his film would be plenty. But whatís magical about 8 1/2 is that itís about so much more than that. Guido isnít simply unable to commit to his filmÖ heís unable to commit to anything. His dreams, his fantasies and his past keep intruding on reality with childlike abandon. And itís done so brilliantly, it just flows perfectly and doesnít feel written at all. It really is a perfect movie, even though I kind of hate to say it, partly because I like Nights of Cabiria even more, and I wouldnít call that one ďperfectĒ. The lighting is perfect, the music is perfect, the casting is perfect (especially the minor roles and background actors ó what a sea of amazing faces!). It sweeps you off your feet. There are films I love that arenít canon, and there are canon films that Iím not fond of at all, but sometimes canon is canon for a very good reason. Absolutely one of the best films ever made.
I just gave this my second watch last night. When I was first getting into the "great movies of all time" I watched this film and liked it, but didnt really have the overall knowledge of film that I do now. I really appreciated it much more.
Just as the filmmaker in his own film doesn't exactly know what to do, Fellini seems to just be accumulating scenes or moments of his story without knowing how to mesh them together, the film does not flow. It is simply a sequence of surreal dream moments which are technically impressive but were difficult to follow and contributed very little to any kind of story. ... On the other hand the film looks amazing. ... The glasses, the suit, the hair, the womens make-up and costumes everything is so gorgeous and stylish. ... The film has some great moments (opening/ending scenes) but at 2h30 there are a lot of scenes that are unnecessary and don't bring anything to the film or the character of Guido. I'm liking it more as I dwell on it but after my first viewing it bothered me.
Every now and then I felt like I understood what Fellini was going for, and sometimes I thought his direction was marvelous. But for the bulk of the film, I felt like the parade kept passing me by. Like Fellini himself was grasping for something, even though he didn't quite know what. While that's probably what helps to make 8 1/2 such an enduring film - the incompleteness that allows an audience to bring their own opinions in - it left me alienated a lot. Sometimes I enjoyed the magic, but more often I felt like the trick was being played on me. Like people couldn't see past the pretty suit and realize this film doesn't know where it's going.
This film is awesome. It does take some concentration, especially considering it is in Italian and I am not fluent in Italian. The plot appears complex and the presentation makes it seem complex, but when you finish the film, sit back, and think about what youíve just seen, it isnít that complex. ... The thing I loved most about the film was the look. Marcello Mastronianni is the definition of cool in this film. The sunglasses, the suits, and I hate to say it, the cigarettes. Oh to be Italian. But really what I want to say is I want to be him, did you see all those gorgeous women? Claudia Cardinale, Barbara Steele, Anouk Aimee, the list goes on and they are all stunningly beautiful. Add to that some of the best costume design, art direction, and imaginative cinematography and you have one heck of a film to look at. I have never been a great judge of foreign language acting, because Iím always reading the dialogue more than I am watching the actors as much as I try to watch them, but I would dare say the acting was good too. Those moments when there was no dialogue, Mastroianni and Aimee especially, do great to express without words. ... It just feels like a great movie through and through. You canít put your finger on it, you struggle to describe it, itís just there. You can tell that something magical has come together and made a great movie. That is 8 1/2.
Ah, 8Ĺ, what more can be said? Well, in so many words: Psychedelic1 trips2 meander3 less4 than5 this6 self-indulgently7 protracted8 bull--Ĺ
I feel it all: the panic, the suffocation, the escape and the freedom, all in that opening scene. Without a doubt, it's my favorite moment in the film and possibly one of my top 5 visceral movie moments. Claustrophobia is a phobia I can identify with. There is no rational talking it away, as it creeps up the back of my shoulders and grabs me by the arms. I have to shake it off just thinking about the scene. It's composition is something to behold, with the sardine cars, the torsos on the bus and the fists seen through steamed up windows and I'm so relieved for the moment of flight to bring release. And that's what? The first three minutes? ... My second favorite scene is the farm of women. It both infuriates and delights me, leaving me to question my perspective of what it means to be a woman and whether that is even answerable. In Fellini's world, where the real and fantastical collide, no one woman can possess all that he is looking for, so he fills a farmhouse full of types: nurturer, partner, coquette, confidante, clown, but his dream soon comes apart at the seams, as he realizes he's losing control of them, that is until he can subdue them once more. After all, it is his fantasy. The lighting and the ribbons flowing in front of the constantly moving camera, keep the sequence fluid and surprising.
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.