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8 1/2 film image

8 1/2

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An autobiographical fantasy about a filmmaker mired in a creative impasse. Here, for the first time, Fellini dove into his dreams as a source of psychological self-analysis and baroque, extravagant imagery. It’s at this point that Fellini films become sui generis, or unmistakably “Felliniesque”, an adjective inspired by his exuberant, erotic, if often grotesque and surreal imagery.

Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s (Otto e mezzo) turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8½ was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini’s masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act.

In 2022 dropped down to #31 in the Sight & Sound poll of Greatest Films (it was #10 in 2012), but other filmmakers rate it more highly – it was #6 in the Director’s poll.

Sunday’s screening in our PANTHEON series will feature free refreshments and a short introduction by an expert in the field.


Aug 20: Introduced by Harry Killas, Associate Professor, Film + Screen Arts, at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Harry Killas is a Canadian director, writer and producer whose films include Is There a Picture and Greek to Me.


Arguably the film that most accurately captures the agonies of creativity and the circus that surrounds filmmaking, equal parts narcissistic, self-deprecating, bitter, nostalgic, warm, critical and funny. Dreams, nightmares, reality and memories coexist within the same time-frame; the viewer sees Guido’s world not as it is, but more ’realistically’ as he experiences it, inserting the film in a lineage that stretches from the Surrealists to David Lynch.

Mar Diestro-Dópido


Presented by


Federico Fellini


Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele

Country of Origin





In Italian with English subtitles

138 min

Book Tickets

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Angelo Rizzoli


Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi


Gianni Di Venanzo


Leo Catozzo

Original Music

Nino Rota

Also in This Series


The consummate director of the silent era, Murnau was schooled in German Expressionism and embraced the fluidity and dynamism of the moving camera. Invited to Hollywood he prefigured film noir with this tale of a married villager seduced by a city vamp.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray's first film opened eyes in the West. It's a naturalistic portrait of the childhood of a Brahman child, Apu, growing up in a village far from twentieth century technology in West Bengal.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Night of the Hunter

One of the strangest and most beguiling movies you'll ever see, from a poetic, nightmarish novel by Davis Grubb, a fable about two children fleeing from a psychotic evangelical preacher (Robert Mitchum). Charles Laughton's only film as director.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

The Battle of Algiers

French Colonel Mathieu hunts for Algerian resistance leader Ali la Pointe in Pontecorvo's classic, which draws the battle lines between colonialists and Arab insurrectionists in a pulsating, "fly-on-the-wall" documentary style.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre


Jacques Tati was modernity's clown; technology his banana skin. Here his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot navigates a sterile Paris that seems designed to thwart his every wish.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre