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8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Marcello Mastroianni , Anouk Aimée , Federico Fellini    NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
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8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + The Seventh Seal (Criterion Collection)  [Blu-ray] + Criterion Collection: The 400 Blows [Blu-ray] (Version française)
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Federico Fellini's 1963 semi-autobiographical story about a worshipped filmmaker who has lost his inspiration is still a mesmerizing mystery tour that has been quoted (Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, Paul Mazursky's Alex in Wonderland) but never duplicated. Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido, a director trying to relax a bit in the wake of his latest hit. Besieged by people eager to work with him, however, he also struggles to find his next idea for a film. The combined pressures draw him within himself, where his recollections of significant events in his life and the many lovers he has left behind begin to haunt him. The marriage of Fellini's hyperreal imagery, dreamy sidebars, and the gravity of Guido's increasing guilt and self-awareness make this as much a deeply moving, soulful film as it is an electrifying spectacle. Mastroianni is wonderful in the lead, his woozy sensitivity to Guido's freefall both touching and charming--all the more so as the character becomes increasingly divorced from the celebrity hype that ultimately outpaces him. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

Criterion truly out did themselves with Fellini's masterpiece 8 1/2. Not only is the digital transfer stunning, but it's also loaded with extras. The anamorphic widescreen (aspect ratio 1.85:1) has few noticeable artifacts and looks extremely vibrant. The Mono Italian audio track is crystal clear and Nino Rota score sounds wonderful. 8 1/2 is incredibly autobiographical and unless you are a Fellini scholar a lot of the innuendos may be missed. Luckily, there is an amazing duel commentary, which provides many historical and metaphorical interpretations putting the surrealistic images into perspective. The second disc includes two documentaries and candid interviews with those who worked closely with Fellini providing an interesting 'inside' perspective. If there is one Fellini film to own, it is 8 1/2, and this Criterion DVD is the one to get. It is absolutely flawless. --Rob Bracco

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The prominent film director Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) finds himself overworked, harassed, and fatigued in all aspect of being. Guido is sent to a health spa where he is supposed to recover from his stressful life, but instead is continuously pursued by people around him, by his past, and by his conscious. The people around Guido are either dependent on him, desire his company, or merely try to advertise themselves in his presence. In order to cope with a large number of people Guido has developed a social dance where he is able to circumvent or approach the individuals of his choosing. This dance is also Guido's way of dealing with life and its complications, which affects him physically, psychologically, and socially.
8 fragmentally displays Guido's life as he dances between reality, dreams, and memories in the developmental stage of a film production. This cerebral dance helps him to avoid what is deemed as uncomfortable as he escapes into his memories where he can find some joy and peace. However, Guido often reminds himself of how his past sometimes plagues him as he can recollect deep memories of discomfort and guilt. These negative emotions lead Guido into an internal crisis where he struggles with his decisions in the light of moral judgment that is heavily weighted by his Catholic upbringing. Despite the internal crisis, the dance continuous as Guido is compelled to flee his painful memories by seeking company outside of his marriage as he seeks self-affirmation when he is alone. The cheating provokes further guilt which urges Guido to remain dancing as he escapes into a dream world where he attempts to unify memories with the present where his consciousness sets the rules.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Movie About the Artist June 16 2004
I saw 8  (1963) for the first time on South Street in Philadelphia at the old TLA theatre. I was in my mid-twenties and liked the big-breasted women. Saw the movie again yesterday at the Colonial in Phoenixville, PA, a wonderfully restored small town theatre, and reentered the world of the great director Federico Fellini. The cast consisted of Marcello Mastroianni (mid life crisis of the great director), Claudia Cardinale (the perfect woman), Sandra Milo (the chesty but dim lover) and Anouk Aimée (the ordinary wife he cheats on).For Fellini, 8  continued a trend away from the realism of his early movies to a surrealistic view of his own life. The film has a simple premise. The great director has no idea what his next movie is about, while his producer and film company wait for Mastroianni to tell them what the movie is about. It does not help that Mastroianni falls in love with every woman in the cast and every woman he ever knew. The famous harem scene is near the end of the movie, where all the women in his life await his every whim. The older ones get banished upstairs. When the women revolt, he gets his whip and regains order. The women love him again. Oh, irony, but in Surrealism, Freud reigns supreme and dreams are a wish. I rate 8  one of ten best movies ever made.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Confusion May 28 2003
The first time I saw 8 1/2, I grasped bits of its structure but didn't really understand it. It challenges you to understand it. Then I listened to the commentary track, and everything fell in place, more or less.
The story, if we can say there is one, follows Guido, a movie director, staying at a health spa while trying to organize his next movie. His problem is that he has no idea what the movie is about, nor does he know what he is doing. Everything in his life lacks balance and he cannot admit the truth to himself or others, so he looks inwards to try to find answers, while being hounded by disgruntled actresses and journalists.
8 1/2 has a multitude of narrative levels, even its own critic. At a first viewing, you have an utter but "Beautiful Confusion", as the movie was first supposed to be called. But there *is* a method to this madness, and if you are very patient and have the DVD commentary track, you can understand it, I promise you. I think I managed that, but it's difficult (I don't want to give it away, however tempting it is). There is a reason why it's called an art students' favourite.
Contrarily to what some ignorant critics have said, 8 1/2 is not about creativity or making a movie or somesuch nonsense. There is strictly no movie-making in this movie, as Guido has no screenplay, and no idea where he is going. Trying to explain this movie cannot be done, unless you simply tell the truth - that it is an exploration of Fellini's psyche and problems. The movie itself feels more like a sustained emotion than a movie, because we are basically exploring one gigantic theme, and we just don't know it. It is not an easy movie to watch emotionally or to remember, because the storyline is fragmentary. It's more like a dream than an actual story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Applaud the man with no clear ideas Feb. 7 2008
By Jenny J.J.I. TOP 500 REVIEWER
I have to admit that I didn't fully understand Federico Fellini's 8 '. I got a little confused with the constant interchange between Guido's dreams, fantasies, memories, and present events. Although it was easy to distinguish the reality from fantasy, I did not fully understand the reason for these fantasies and what they were about. Having already seen a similar great mind game movie "Mulholland Dr." without a doubt, 8 ' is one of the best movies made about filmmaking. Many believe that master director Federico Fellini based the movie on himself and his struggles. The movie appears semi-autobiographical because the central character in the movie is also a director named Guido Anselmi, played brilliantly by Marcello Mastroianni. It is about Guido's confusion on what his next movie is about. While trying to reach a decision, Guido also confronts his own personal problems.

Guido is already a successful and famous director. And for his next film, a science fiction one, he asked the studio for a massive construction of a prop spaceship. The construction cost the studio millions of Liras, but they did it anyway because they are confident with Guido's abilities. Before filming starts, Guido had a nervous breakdown that made him think about what he is doing. He then postpones the shoot and tries to rewrite the script. When he could not come up with the story he likes, he believes that he ran out of inspiration. So retreats to his dreams and fantasies to come up with one, while his producer, cast, and crew keep pressuring him to start the shoot.

Aside from his problems with his film's story, he also confronts his problems with his wife Luisa (Anouk Aimee) and his mistress Carla (Sandra Milo). Guido invites Luisa to the set even though he knows Carla is there.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I would have preferred an english version of this movie
Published 3 months ago by James Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Felini at his finest
Love the black & white flashback genre. Its romantic, sexy, engaging and more. Goes wonderfully with a dry chianti by a roaring fire
Published 21 months ago by susan j mallozzi
3.0 out of 5 stars A CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE.
Frequently, the name or label "Art film" is given to a movie that presents innovative techniques, an experimental narrative, abstract and ambiguous characters, complex... Read more
Published on June 28 2004 by Alejandro Cortes
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but a film more to respect than love
For what it is---an intensely personal statement about Fellini's own frustrations at a film director at a certain point in his life, as reflected by the frustrations of his film... Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Kenji Fujishima
5.0 out of 5 stars The best irreverent italian comedy ever made
You'll find this movie a real tour de force with a script that doesn't seem get old, but becomes so fresh forty one years after being filmed. Read more
Published on May 1 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars How Good is Great?
I purchased this DVD because of its' sustained superior ratings in the Sight and Sound survey every decade of the best films of all time. Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by Randy Keehn
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Despair
In 8 1/2 we enter the fragmented world belonging to a filmmaker struggling with the creation of his next film. Read more
Published on Feb. 23 2004 by R. G. Villalobos
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is our greatest invention!
1. Federico Fellini. Sensitive, vulgar - il maestro.
2. Saraghina - beauty and repulsion just a few jiggles away.
3. Sandra Milo is dimples dangerous and blessed.
4. Read more
Published on Dec 19 2003 by Lao Che
2.0 out of 5 stars "Accept me as I am. Only then can we discover each other."
Federico Fellini's "8 " is often cited as the late director's masterpiece but it is a maddening film to watch. Read more
Published on Oct. 7 2003 by Steven Y.
5.0 out of 5 stars "He is lost! He has NOTHING to say! A-HA-HA-HA-HA!"
The best thing about this most classic of classic films about filmmaking is that all of its greatest and most famous sequences are both brilliantly done and profoundly funny. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2003 by Jay Dickson
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