8 1/2

8 1/2 (*****)

Director: Federico Fellini, Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia CardinaleAnouk Aimée 

This is probably going to horrify some my friends here, but I need to make a confession: I don’t think I had ever seen this film from beginning to end until tonight.I’ve always been afraid that it would be too surreal for me and I would eventually find it a bit boring. How wrong I was!! There is a reason why this film ends up being among the top of most lists of the best ones ever made and why every director tries (and fail… yes I’ talking to you Sorrentino!!) to replicate it.8 1/2 may be about a director loosing his creativity and struggling to make a film, but actually I’ve hardly ever seen one which is so full of ideas, striking imagery, music and life!Right from very opening, with a spectacular nightmare sequence, you know you’re watching something special. And then it never stops, all the way through a carnival of characters, right to the joyous ending.The film is not just a very personal journey for Fellini, through his past, his weaknesses, his doubts, his dreams, but it’s also a sharp commentary on all the things he cared and felt strongly about: the Church, marriage life, adultery, sex, creativity and film making (among many other things).Visually it’s a real masterpiece. What Fellini does with his camera is beyond words: there’s hardly a frame that doesn’t deserve to be printed and put on a wall: the choreography, the blocking, the cinematography, the use of sound… Not to mention the music, not just the original score by Nino Rota, which can evoke beauty, happiness and sadness within the space of a few bars, but also the use of classical pieces (including Wagner’s Valkyrie, long before Coppola used it in Apocalypse Now). Fellini has an incredible eye not just for his frame, but for the incredible faces of every single characters who populate them. (Including and especially the extras). But there’s also more than just visuals and music here. This is also film full of emotions, jokes, laughs, memories and joy.Shame on me for waiting so long to watch this properly!On Amazon Prime (though I did watch it on a beautiful pristine Criterion bluray)And by the way… Mastroianni is a God!

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