Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963)

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

— Guido

I have always wanted to see a Federico Fellini movie. I tried to watch La Dolce Vita, but it turned out to be a bad copy of the movie and I had to scrap the viewing of that movie. I hope to get back to that particular movie soon. The next movie that every film fans rave over is the #188 Movie of All-Time on IMDb, 8 1/2. This is inspiration of the musical, Nine, which I reviewed in 2009 that I liked. The two-time Academy winning film has been given a lot of unwanted praise in my opinion.

Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a down and out director that trying to start his creative juices before his next production doesn’t go down the toilet. The production is already underway without a script or a concept of what the end product is going to be.

Guido has driven himself sick with debilitating headaches. He tries to get inspiration for the people around him like his friend,  Mario Mezzabotta (Mario Pisu), his younger girlfriend, Gloria Morin (Barbara Steele). Nothing is coming to his mind. Guido’s screenwriter is pulling his hair out to extract Guido’s thoughts into paper. Guido’s daydreams are a menageries of Catholic imagery, man kites and random women from his life pop in.

Guido’s mistress, Carla (Sandra Milo) comes to town to give Guido some inspiration for his next big screen hit. Their late night romps are not helping matters. To make matters worse, Guido wants to have his wife, Luisa (Anouk Aimée) to come to the set. He wanted to start the fireworks, but his life is going down in shambles. He has no way of getting out of the mess that he is in.

This film is so different from Nine, because Nine simplified the story and made it coherent. There were some positives that I liked in the movie with the relationship between Guido and Luisa. The movie felt like a Greek tragedy to me. Guido’s life is a production and everybody has to play their part in it.

I felt that the film was all dubbed. Nobody’s mouths were matching up to the words. Even thought I was reading the translation, I felt distracted from the non-sych of the actors mouths. Also, Guido’s daydreams were very random and cluttered. It was an assault to the eyes.

Judgment: Just because a movie is over twenty years old and in another language doesn’t mean that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Rating: 6/10

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on April 2, 2011, in 1963, Academy Award Winner, Best Foreign Language Film, Drama, Fantasy, Foreign Language, Running Feature, Top 250 of All Time on IMDB and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Don’t give up on Fellini. 8 1/2 is my least favorite of his films. La Dolce Vita is immeasurably better. So is Nights of Cabiria, and La Strada.

    • I’m not giving up on him. Not at all. I will try to find a good copy of La Dolce Vita and see La Strada and all the others. I don’t easily give up on a director based on one movie.

  2. when i was young, i didn’t like 8 1/2 (I saw it in a theater).

    when i was old, i saw it again and thought it was fantastic.

    either my taste is improving, or i’m going senile.

  3. Why are you watching the dubbed version? No! Watch it again in subtitles. And this time embrace the imagery and sounds and don’t worry about the plot.

    • No, it wasn’t dubbed. It was subtitled. I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on.

      • I felt the same way the first time I watched it. Then I read a great review by Roger Ebert. It changed my perspective. Upon a second viewing, I had a different opinion of the film. Because I was no longer expecting a linear narrative, I just sat back and enjoyed what I saw an heard. Then slept on it and realized the film is brilliant. The shadows, the giggles, the music, the dancing… its a moving, visual circus for adults.

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