TRAILERS & CLIPS
8 ½ is a marvellous and immensely personal piece of self analysis, which journeys into the heart, mind and soul of its illustrious director, Frederico Fellini.
Fellini's semi-biographical magnum opus stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a world famous Italian writer/director who has reached the crossroads in his artistic and personal lives.
Suffering from "director's block", Guido holds up at a health resort in an attempt to clear his thoughts and stall production on his new feature movie. Yet it does not take long for his producer (and the rest of the cast and crew) to hound him with key questions in regards to his madcap production.
Adding to Guido's worries is his troublesome domestic situation, which culminates when his spoilt mistress (Sandra Milo) and his wife (Anouk Aimee) meet for the first time. In an attempt to find peace within himself, Guido retreats to his dreams, fantasies and childhood memories.
Essentially, this is a film about a director who is making a film about his personal life, directed by a man making a film about his personal life. In it, Fellini uses his characters as therapeutic tools. One of them, a cynical writer employed by Guido to oversee his script for the movie (in the process ripping it apart), is really just criticizing the work and philosophies of Fellini himself. And through Guido, Fellini has created an alter-ego which brings forth the directors complex relationships with the women in his life, and also with the Catholic Church.
The film - shot in black and white - pushes the boundaries of surrealistic cinema, constantly switching back and forth between reality and fantasy. The beginning of the film features a haunting scene that sets the tone for the rest of the movie, where Guido is stuck in traffic, and is slowly dying from exhaust consumption. Escaping his metal coffin, he takes to the sky, flying free as a bird until he is caught by a rope and pulled down to Earth.
Its unpredictable nature is surprisingly enchanting, and it is equally creepy (with its unclear motives and scary characters), and humorous (highlighted by a hilarious scene, where all of the women Guido has ever fantasised about converge in a state of domestic bliss).
With a director like Fellini calling the shots, the viewer must submit to his rules, since it is his world we are observing. His influence on the likes of Terry Gilliam and David Lynch is evident, yet no one has come close to matching the surrealistic film making on display in 8 ½.