8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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Federico Fellini's 8 1/2, his 1963 semi-autobiographical story about a worshipped filmmaker who has lost his inspiration, is still a mesmerising 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 hyper real 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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8½ 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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Love the black & white flashback genre. Its romantic, sexy, engaging and more. Goes wonderfully with a dry chianti by a roaring firePublished on Jan. 6 2013 by susan j mallozzi
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 morePublished on June 28 2004 by Alejandro Cortes
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 morePublished on May 31 2004 by Kenji Fujishima
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 morePublished on May 1 2004 by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela
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 morePublished on April 4 2004 by Randy Keehn