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8½ (1963) Poster

(1963)

Quotes

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Guido: My Dears... Happiness consists of being able to tell the truth without hurting anyone.

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Guido: I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film to help bury forever all the dead things we carry around inside. Instead, it's me who lacks the courage to bury anything at all. Now I'm utterly confused, with this tower on my hands. I wonder why things turned out this way. Where did I lose my way? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it anyway. Why don't those spirits of yours come to my aid? You always said they had lots of messages for me. Let them get to work.

Rossella: I've already told you: your attitude is all wrong. You're curious in a childish way. You want too many guarantees.

Guido: Fine, but what do they say?

Rossella: The same as always. They're very reasonable. They know you very well.

Guido: Well then?

Rossella: They say you're free, but you have to choose. And you don't have much time. You have to hurry.

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Guido: What is this sudden happiness that makes me tremble, giving me strength, life? Forgive me, sweet creatures. I hadn't understood, I didn't know. It's so natural accepting you, loving you. And so simple. Luisa, I feel I've been freed. Everything seems so good, so meaningful. Everything is true. I wish I could explain. But I didn't know how to. So. Everything is confused again, as it was before. But this confusion is... me. Not as I'd like to be, but as I am. I'm not afraid anymore of telling the truth, of the things I don't know, what I'm looking for and haven't found. This is the only way I can feel alive and I can look into your faithful eyes without shame. Life is a celebration. Let's live it together! This is all I can say Luisa, to you or the others. Accept me for what I am, if you want me. It's the only way we might be able to find each other.

Luisa Anselmi: I don't know if what you said to me is right. But I can try if you help me.

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Claudia: I don't understand. He meets a girl that can give him a new life and he pushes her away?

Guido: Because he no longer believes in it.

Claudia: Because he doesn't know how to love.

Guido: Because it isn't true that a woman can change a man.

Claudia: Because he doesn't know how to love.

Guido: And above all because I don't feel like telling another pile of lies.

Claudia: Because he doesn't know how to love.

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Guido: All the confusion of my life... has been a reflection of myself! Myself as I am, not as I'd like to be.

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Writer: You've made the right choice. Believe me, today is a good day for you. These are tough decisions, I know. But we intellectuals, and I say we because I consider you such, must remain lucid to the bitter end. This life is so full of confusion already, that there's no need to add chaos to chaos. Losing money is part of a producer's job. I congratulate you. You had no choice. And he got what he deserved for having joined such a frivolous venture so lightheartedly. Believe me, no need for remorse. Destroying is better than creating when we're not creating those few, truly necessary things. But then is there anything so clear and right that it deserves to live in this world? For him the wrong movie is only a financial matter. But for you, at this point, it could have been the end. Better to quit and strew the ground with salt, as the ancients did, to purify the battlefields. In the end what we need is some hygiene, some cleanliness, disinfection. We're smothered by images, words and sounds that have no right to exist, coming from, and bound for, nothingness. Of any artist truly worth the name we should ask nothing except this act of faith: to learn silence. Do you remember Mallarme's homage to the white page? And Rimbaud... a poet, my friend, not a movie director. What was his finest poetry?His refusal to continue writing and his departure for Africa. If we can't have everything, true perfection is nothingness. Forgive men for quoting all the time. But we critics... do what we can. Our true mission is... sweeping away the thousands of miscarriages that everyday... obscenely... try to come to the light. And you would actually dare leave behind you a whole film, like a cripple who leaves behind his crooked footprint. Such a monstrous presumption to think that others could benefit from the squalid catalogue of your mistakes! And how do you benefit from stringing together the tattered pieces of your life? Your vague memories, the faces of people that you were never able to love...

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Guido: Accept me as I am. Only then can we discover each other.

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Guido: Could you walk out on everything and start all over again? Could you choose one single thing, and be faithful to it? Could you make it the one thing that gives your life meaning... just because you believe in it? Could you do that?"

Claudia: I don't know... could you?"

Guido: No, the character I'm thinking of couldn't. He wants to possess and devour everything. He can't pass anything up. He's afraid he'll miss something. He's drained.

Claudia: That's how the film ends?

Guido: No, that's how it begins. Then he meets a girl at the springs. She gives him water to heal him. She's beautiful... young, yet ancient... child, yet already a woman... authentic, complete. It's obvious that she could be his salvation.

[Looks over at Claudia]

Guido: You'll wear white... with long hair, just as you do now.

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Guido: Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.

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Guido: The truth is: I do not know... I seek... I have not yet found. Only with this in mind can I feel alive and look at you without shame.

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Writer: You see, what stands out at a first reading is the lack of a central issue or a philosophical stance. That makes the film a chain of gratuitous episodes which may even be amusing in their ambivalent realism. You wonder, what is the director really trying to do? Make us think? Scare us? That ploy betrays a basic lack of poetic inspiration.

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Luisa Anselmi: Don't explain. I didn't ask you anything. Just spare me the shame of hearing you swear to a mess of lies.

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Writer: Only the early Fitzgerald was great, then came an orgy of brutal realism.

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Guido: Hold it. Let me have a look at you. No, your makeup should be more...

Carla: ...more what?

Guido: Like a whore.

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Guido: You came just in time. Why are you smiling? Suppose I told you... Claudia.

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Writer: Why piece together the tatters of your life - the vague memories, the faces... the people you never knew how to love?

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[first lines]

man with kite: [during the opening dream sequence while Guido floats high in the air like a kite over the beach] Counselor, I've got him.

cardinal on horse: Down. Come down.

[the man tugs at the tethered rope]

cardinal on horse: Down for good.

[Guido plunges down toward the sea and the scene cuts to him waking up from this dream]

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[last lines]

Guido: [while cueing/directing the circus act celebrating his life and all of the people in it] Just a minute. I'll give you the go-ahead... Now. Go to the curtain. Draw it. Everyone come down. Talk to each other...

[endearingly calls out]

Guido: Mother.

Carla: Sgulp! I did understand what you wanted to say, you know. That you can't do without us. At what time will you call me tomorrow?

Guido: Fine, fine. Now join the line! Maurice! Come, quickly! Stop fooling around. Everybody hold hands! Spread out! All together. Maestro!

Il partner della telepata: Let's all hold hands!

[everyone - including Guido and Luisa - joyously jogs in a line, the clown band makes its last appearance, and this final scene fades out to the credits]

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