8 1/2 (1963)

8 1/2
Directed by Federico Fellini
Written by Federico Fellini, Tulio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi
1963/Italy/France
Cineriz/Francinex
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Guido: When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.

One of the few meta films that succeeds for me on every level.

Director Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) attempts to take refuge from his many problems at a health spa.  He is pursued by his entire production company and various aspirants for parts in his film.  All these people want to know is what the film, which is actually in production, is to be about.  Guido is unable to tell them or to escape them.  To add to his problems both his mistress (Sandra Milo) and his long-suffering wife (Anouk Amie) have joined him.

Guido tries to escape into childhood memories and various fantasies.  But he is constantly plagued by an internal and external critic who get the better of him before the glorious ending.

Fellini and I are on the same wave-length, at least through 1963, and I have loved this film since the first time I saw it.  I don’t think the black-and-white cinematography and production design has ever been bettered.  I find Guido’s creative and personal troubles and their resolution immensely satisfying.

8 1/2 won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White.  It was nominated in the categories of Best Director; Best Writing, Story and Screenplay, Written Directly for the Screen; and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White.  Nino Rota was clearly robbed for his fantastic score.

American trailer

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