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8 ½ Women (1999)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  10 December 1999 (UK)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 3,093 users   Metascore: 36/100
Reviews: 44 user | 41 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

Following the death of a mother, a father and son open up a brothel in their Genevan estate after watching (1963).

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Philip Emmenthal
Matthew Delamere ...
Storey Emmenthal
...
Kito
Annie Shizuka Inoh ...
Simato (as Shizuka Inoh)
...
Clothilde
Kirina Mano ...
Mio
...
Griselda / Sister Concordia
...
Beryl
...
Giaconda the Baby Factory
Manna Fujiwara ...
Giulietta / Half Woman
...
Palmira
...
Celeste, Emmenthal Maid
Myriam Muller ...
Marianne, Emmenthal Maid
...
Simon
...
Amelia, Philip's Wife
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Storyline

After his wife dies, 55-year-old businessman Philip Emmenthal, at the prompting of his playboy son Storey, populates his Geneva villa with eight and a half concubines. Three are from Kyoto, where Storey manages Pachinco palaces. Each has a distinctive personality: a nun, a child bearer, a gambler, a student of Kabuki, a horsewoman with a pet pig, a maid. Philip throws off his strait-laced and repressed attitudes, immersing himself in pleasure. After about a year, the women begin to assert their own power. Side adventures pre-figure the household's breakup, and the women depart in one way or another, one at at time. Philip's fate is in the hands of Palmira, his favorite. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

If every man thinks of sex once every nine minutes, what does he think of the other eight? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue and pervasive nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

10 December 1999 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

8 femmes 1/2  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$92,000 (USA) (26 May 2000)

Gross:

$417,517 (USA) (21 July 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Storey Emmenthal: I'm thinking of making a film... about all this: our experiences.
Philip Emmenthal: Why make a film when you can live it? Most films are about people longing for something that they haven't got, and what they haven't got is sex and happiness... and we've got both. Or at least... I have.
See more »

Connections

Features  (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpt from 'Otello'
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Vladimir Bogachov & The Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest (as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Conducted by Riccardo Chailly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Greenaway Laughs!
25 September 2002 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

Actually, Greenaway has nearly always been laughing. It's just that many people fail to notice that. "8 1/2 Women", however, is different in that even the people who hate it (of which there will be plenty; it's Greenaway) will have no doubts that it is a comedy, and Greenaway's lightest-toned film yet.

It is a playful tribute to Fellini and Godard, and it features - prominently

  • understanding, affection and warmth, none of which are emotions one


would have easily associated with Greenaway's previous work. (In an after-screening interview, he commented that age makes one want to look more at the better side of things.) Because this is still very much a Peter Greenaway film, the ways in which emotions such as filial love are going to be explored are going to be very quirky indeed; but to interpret the film's "taboo" scene as intended to shock is a disservice to the film, the director's intentions (and his ability to *truly* shock when he wants to - check "The Baby of Macon") and your own enjoyment.

"8 1/2 Women" is full of odd little moments (and one SPECTACULARLY odd image which I won't spoil much, except to mention that it involves a pig, a Japanese Noh performer and a stunning Swiss villa) and offbeat humour; and it is about male bonding and male delusions about women. I can see how many people have taken the facile route of viewing it as misogynistic; these people have obviously not seen the same film as I have, which is all about control from behind the scenes, strategy, and the presentation of male supremacy for what it is - a fallacy.

"8 1/2 Women" was badly received at Cannes, got a tremendous backlash against it and died a death commercially. All of which is very unfair. If you like eccentric humour, give this film a chance. It's a little Wonderland of sorts and, in its own peculiar way, far more heartwarming than the average plastic Hollywood tear-jerker.


33 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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