Otto e mezzo
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 8½ (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 8½ 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.
Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele
In Italian with English subtitles
Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi
Gianni Di Venanzo
Also in This Series
In the Mood for Love
Wong Kar-wai's most popular film is a love story about two neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) who are drawn together by the long absences of their respective spouses.
In Abbas Kiarostami's self-reflexive non-fiction narrative feature, Sabzian, an illiterate film buff who passed himself off as the Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf plays himself in reconstructions of his fraud.
Orson Welles's debut was the most sophisticated movie to come out of the Hollywood studio system to that time, and opened up the creative possibilities of the narrative feature film for generations. For nearly 50 years it was "the best ever made".