Watched: February 28 2019
Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Barbara Steele
Runtime: 2h 18min
Guido Anselmi (Mastroianni) is a famous film director in the middle of an existential crisis and artistic drought. His new project is going nowhere and neither is his love life.
Between balancing his mistress (Milo), wife (Aimée), producers, set designers, and potential starring actors, the director is buckling and cannot get himself to make any decisions about his next movie.
When confronted by the reality of his life (and his affair), he dreams himself away to a fantasy land where every woman he’s ever met worships the ground he walks on, get along with each other, and (more or less) voluntarily remove themselves from his view when they reach an undesirable age.
Can religion help? The cardinal in the sauna? The dream woman he’s seen as the star of his movie? His (patient) wife, Luisa? Barbara Steele? The memory of his first sexually charged encounter as a child? In short, will Guido get his groove back?
8 1⁄2 is gorgeous to look at, and very deservedly won an Oscar for best costume design. The architecture is also outstanding, and there are loads of shots of small people in huge structures throughout the film.
We’re still in love with Barbara Steele and her face, and we were intrigued by the opening (which reminded us of Bergman – our doggo would have loved it!), especially the arms on the bus and the frozen people. We loved the voice-over, the dream/memory-sequences, the sauna, and the dance in the end, which also brought us back to Bergman.
What we learned: Sometimes, a clown orchestra is what you need.
Next time: Billy Liar (1963)