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Guido is a film director, trying to relax after his last big hit. He can't get a moment's peace, however, with the people who have worked with him in the past constantly looking for more work. He wrestles with his conscience, but is unable to come up with a new idea. While thinking, he starts to recall major happenings in his life, and all the women he has loved and left. An autobiographical film of Fellini, about the trials and tribulations of film making. Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
The title refers to the number of movies Federico Fellini had directed up until that point - six features, two short (1/2) films and "half a picture" (Variety Lights his first, co-directed with Alberto Lattuada), for a total of 7 1/2. So this one is number 8 1/2. See more »
When Guido visits Carla during her illness, a strap of her slip disappears in the close shot after she rolls over, but is apparent in longer shots both prior and after. See more »
Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.
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First time I saw 8 1/2 over twenty years ago; I did not like it then and I did not care much for a confused director who did not know how to make his next movie or how to deal with all women in his life. This time it was different. I knew it from the opening scene, from the first sounds of Nino Rota's music. I wanted to know how Guido would balance the demands of his producers and the insecurities of his love life. I sometimes barely could tell the difference between the reality and Guido's surfing the waves of his memory or building the Utopias in his mind where things were exactly the way he wanted them to be and I really did not want to tell the difference. I just was there, following Guido on his journey where Fellini sent us. Then, that scene came, "La Saraghina's" lurid dance on the beach. There was something in that scene that made me return to it over and over again. What was it? The dancing woman was not young, pretty or graceful. On the contrary, she was fat and ugly but there was something about her that smile, resilience, the promise of joy that attracted eager schoolboys. It was a last time the young Guido felt happy without guilt and shame that inevitably came after the encounter and stayed with him forever; he learned that joy and punishment are inseparable
There have been fewer than a handful of films that affected me as profoundly as 8 ½ did:
Tarkovsky's "Zerkalo" when the master holds the mirror in front of you that reflects his soul and mind, open you eyes and heart, don't say a word, just watch closely.
Tarkovsky's "Andrey Rublev" What is talent? Is it a God's gift or Devil's curse? Is an Artist free in choosing what to do with that gift?
Bergman's "Persona" How far can one individual go in opening his soul to the other without losing identity and sanity?
Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria" "Dum Spiro Spero" - While there's life there's hope.
In 8 ½, Fellini explored all these subjects and in the final he took the idea of life and hope ever further: after all the characters in his film disappear from the screen, all what left behind is "a little orchestra of Hope with Love as its conductor". The last that we hear is the magic music of Rota, bringing affirmation, hope and love.
Simply wonderful. Perhaps, one of five greatest films ever made.
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