Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Masterpieces Classics: 8½ (1963)

Here's a fact that all film fans should know: Federico Fellini was one of the greatest directors of all time, no doubt about it. His ideas were original, and his films... Felliniesque.

His most Felliniesque and autobiographical film is , starring his man-muse Marcello Mastroianni. and Fellini's previous work, La Dolce Vita are spiritual sequels in their own respects. Both star Mastroianni as men in the film industry, pursuing different women throughout.

Unlike the character Marcello in La Dolce Vita, Fellini writes a part for Mastroianni that flips it around. Mastroianni is now Guido Anselmi, a troubled film director. He is not as cocksure as before, instead he is more shaky. 

Consider this: In one scene, Guido is at a party. His friend and producer Mario Mezzabotta is dancing with his fiancee Gloria. Guido remains in his seat. In another scene however, Guido is alone. He is at ease as he tap dances back to his hotel room. What does this mean?

It means that Guido is more comfortable with himself. Even as he tries to make his movie, he seemingly makes it his own film. As his wife watches screen tests of actresses, she sees that Guido chose costumes identical to those of his mistress. It seemed like a good idea then, I guess.

But these memories and loneliness of this man, Guido Anselmi, is what the backbone of the film is. There is a 10 minute sequence when Guido is retreated in his thoughts. He is in a spa, where he sees the women of his life. 

The scene parallels another, when Guido is meeting a cardinal in a spa. Throughout, he dreams of seeing a Cardinale(Claudia). This sequence is very surreal, steamy, and hazy. Is it a memory, or is it part of his ideas for his movie? I'm not so sure myself.

Whatever it is, it's what makes so great. Is it memory, or movie? That's up to you.

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