Sunday, 5 October 2008
8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) 
-->Had Sigmund Freud ever decided to make a film, it might have been something akin to 8 ½. This deeply autobiographical movie wasn’t just the legendary Italian New Wave director Federico Fellini’s magnum opus, but also one of the landmark movies in the history of cinema. So-called superficial elements like plot, chronology and the literary equivalent of space-time duality have been completely done away with. Instead what we have is a series of montages that blur in and out of reality. Guido, Fellini’s alter-ego and gloriously played by Marcello Mastroianni, is a famous filmmaker; unfortunately, on the eve of his grandest venture thus far, he starts developing a terrible case of director’s block. Further, he is at the cross-roads of his material relationships – be it with his wife or his mistress, he feels trapped in a world filled with buffoonish intellectuals, and his complex sense of guilt (especially those concerning his Catholic belief) are tearing out of his finely managed façade of existentialism and detachment. Thus what we have is an extravagantly surreal and immensely psycho-analytical thesis filled with elaborate dream sequences, flashbacks and the present, which are all ultimately brought together in a jangled and phantasmic mass of “what could have been”, “what ought to have been”, and “what is”. I would however be very cautious while recommending this movie for the simple reason that very few people would have the openness of mind and, I daresay, courage to actually sit through and enjoy it. The movie is slow, it is quirky, it is illusory, it is fantasy-laden, it is delirious, it is philosophical, it is disconcerting, it is even disparaging at times, but it is also unique and splendid.
p.s. My recent review of the film can be found here.
Director: Federico Fellini
Genre: Psychological Drama/Social Satire/Showbiz Comedy/Avant-Garde/Experimental