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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 (78 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Felini at his finest Jan. 6 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Love the black & white flashback genre. Its romantic, sexy, engaging and more. Goes wonderfully with a dry chianti by a roaring fire
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fellini & Mastroianni Essential Viewing Oct. 3 2002
Format:DVD
If you have ever wondered what all the fuss was about regarding director Fellini & leading man, alter-ego Mastroianni, this film will resolve any doubts. It is a superb autobiographical look at Fellini (played wonderfully by Mastroianni) by Fellini. He sugarcoats nothing so it is a complete portrait of the artist, the man, the filmmaker. It is peopled by the many distinctive faces that would be called Felliniesque in later years plus is shot in surreal, dreamy black and white. Perhaps the most complex issue is the role of women in his life plus its related issue of family. Those hugely influenced his filmmaking even though most viewers associate him with much more avant garde issues. This film later influenced Woody Allen in making his autobiographical "Stardust Memories" and Bob Fosse in making "All That Jazz." The word that comes to mind about all 3 films is "unflinching." There is a companion film to this one that I like as well or even better, Fellini's "City of Women," also starring Mastroianni.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Federico Fellini's "8 " is often cited as the late director's masterpiece but it is a maddening film to watch. It is filled to the brim with symbols, abstract ideas, ambiguity, and inner ruminations that taken together imposes on the audience the same disorienting feeling its main character is experiencing. This absence of a conventional narrative is an intriguing and bold step taken by a true artist of the medium, but experimentation alone does not make for a good film.
Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) is a film director who has just completed a hit film and is now taking refuge at a health spa. His downtime is interrupted by a parade of individuals who do not realize that a crisis is at hand - the director has no idea what to do for a follow-up feature. Money has already been spent for an elaborate film set but Guido does not know what to do with it. Hoping to find inspiration, Guido starts to look into his past and experiences a spiritual crisis as he finds it difficult to reconcile his carnal, commercial, and creative sides.
The famous sequence where Guido is reunited with all of the women he has crossed paths with in his life is a powerful sequence that is full of passion and energy. Yet, this same level of vigor is not maintained for the entire film and after a while the vivid yet disconnected imagery we are left with that is meant to symbolize Guido's aimlessness just becomes annoying. Fellini was a man ahead of his time in exploring the notion of creative bankruptcy in a commercial medium on such a sophisticated level. However, by using the narrative of "8 " to symbolize and deliver the message at the same time, he produced a film that comes across as too clever for its own good.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
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
Format:DVD
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Applaud the man with no clear ideas
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... Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2008 by Jenny J.J.I.
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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars FELLINI IS THE MASTER
Everyone has already said everything that can be said other than hearing it from the horse's mouth. Fellini is the man and this is his finest work.
Published on July 31 2003 by B. Pytlinski
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