With La dolce vita
in 1960, Federico Fellini
created a new kind of personal fantastical movie to deal with the corrupt, newly affluent Italy. It replaced the neorealism that had dominated Italian cinema for 15 years. Three years later, in the even more phantasmagoric, semi-autobiographical Otto e mezzo (aka 8½), Marcello Mastroianni
, who'd become Fellini
's alter ego in La dolce vita
, played Guido Anselmi, a director at the end of his tether while in pre-production on his latest expensive movie at Rome's Cinecittà.He has magnificent sets and costumes, but no script, and as he's badgered by producers, wives, mistresses, journalists and assorted hangers-on, he fantasises about his life and loves and revisits his past.
It is a dazzling film, funny, moving and deeply serious. One of the most influential pictures ever made, it contributed to the myth of the film director as supreme auteur, encouraged a movie critic to publish a