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Fellini's 8 1/2 (DVD)

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  • One of the best self-portraits of any filmmaker
  • Not the most open of films to get easily into
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      13.05.2014 12:44
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      Advantages

      • "One of the best self-portraits of any filmmaker"

      Disadvantages

      • "Not the most open of films to get easily into"

      The rawness of the film industry seen through a screen of alienation

      What is one of the most celebrated films of all time, Federico Fellini's 1963 film "8 1/2" is a semi-autobiographical movie about a director (Marcello Mastroianni) who is pressured into making a successful film following a previous smash hit. However, he finds himself stuck with no ideas on what to make, while having to deal with pushy producers and somehow trying to put together a sci-fi film he has no interest in doing. Amid this he begins to reflect back on his relationships, with the flashbacks and the dreams starting to mix together with reality in a film that is one of the most complete expressions of a celebrated director's struggle to make something meaningful in a business that wants the next big thing immediately. As such the film can be a little aimless with a payoff that seems to resolve into nothing (the almost surreal procession of circus folk in the final scene gets no real explanation - not that one is really required), but a lot of this is mitigated due to its strong sense of personal reaction and reference to Fellini's own life coming at the heels of his own smash hit "La Dolce Vita" - a self-reflection of which Mastroianni's director here is - that one has to respect the movie even through its at times meandering progression. As an insight into the creative process and the difficulties of creating a product the producers can sell, yet not sacrificing your own artistic integrity while doing so, makes this such a peerlessly personal film, with the spotlight of pessimism shining at the industry's cutthroat nature being merciless and unflattering. Beautifully shot by Gianni Di Venanzo, and featuring fine performances from Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, and Anouk Aimee, this is among the finest of the wave of Italian films depicting alienation and isolation brought on by modernism and consumerism so prevalent in the 1960s, to which Fellini was certainly not immune to. The title refers to Fellini's six feature length films and his three "half" films that are incorporated into collaborative efforts, thus making this his "eighth and a half" film. (c) berlioz 2014

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