8 1/2 Reviews
"A picture that goes beyond what men think about- because no man ever thought about it in quite this way."
8 1/2 may just be the most perfect film I have seen. Fellini gives us a based somewhat on him, director named Guido(magnificently played by Marcello Mastroianni). This director is being hassled by everyone in his life. He deals with two relationships, one with his wife and one with his lover, and the repercussions of his sexual desires. He is hounded by produces and writers to get moving on his next film, but he doesn't know what to do. So he escapes at various times throughout the film, into his fantasies.
Some of these fantasy sequences are easy to spot, some a bit harder. Some are realistic, some are not. But these fantasy scenes are simply brilliant and amazing. I for one absolutely loved where he was in a fantasy with all the women of his fantasies. He talked to them and sent them "upstairs" because they reached a specific age which he deemed to old. With today's lingo, we basically go into Guido's spankbank.
I haven't seen that many Federico Fellini films, but the ones I have seen I have loved. None more so than 8 1/2. I can see this movie being very hard for some people to sit through because virtually nothing happens. We watch a man struggle in the real world and resort to fantasies of women he lost and childhood memories of guilt. This isn't meant as pure entertainment. It isn't going to have you waiting with bated breath for what happens next and it probably isn't going to excite in the least.
But for the viewer who loves these type of films(films that dive more into a character's thoughts, guilt and struggles, then into a plot), I couldn't think of a better movie. What this movie really makes me want to do is watch every Fellini film right now just to make sure this is his best, because if it isn't there's a movie out there that is basically going to change my life.
I have to talk about Marcello Mastroianni's performance. This was easily the most insightful and vivid performance I have ever seen from an actor. I'm not going to say it is the best performance by an actor ever(it is definitely up there) because I don't know how'd that would even be judged, but it is one of my personal favorites.
The best thing about this is that the next time I watch it, I probably appreciate it even more because it will be a lot easier to follow and I will pick up on a lot more.
Guido: My Dears... Happiness consists of being able to tell the truth without hurting anyone.
I really wanted to like 8 ˝ (I even purchased it, which is not something I usually do), especially now that "Nine" is coming out (if that one disappoints me, I think I will kill myself).
"Otto e Mezzo" is a self-indulgent, overly long, incredibly boring and uninvolving story about an asshole. And not a "cool" asshole (if that's even possible) like Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind" or Rick Blaine in "Casablanca". This douchebag is a self-absorbed, womanizing liar, surrounded by a slew of women just as unlikeable.
8 ˝ excels in technical aspects such as cinematography, art direction and costume design, but this Fellini indulgence is a challenge to endure. A frustrating experience, due to the fact that there's not a clear distinction between reality and imagination, present and past.
Some directors can make long dialog scenes work (see Quentin Tarantino), but in 8 ˝, the characters just talk, talk and then talk some more, but always about some pointless crap.
This is the kind of film that needs to be rewatched over and over again to get the subtleties. Fellini chose a hoard of memorable women so sexy, so saucy, so tempestuous it's no wonder he couldn't limit himself to just one. He teeters on the brink of reality and fantasy so much everything just kind of blends with the other, creating something new that transcends either reality OR fantasy.
I can see where All That Jazz gets its inspiration. Must watch that again too.