Monday, February 24, 2014

Movie of the Week – 8 ½

This week’s movie: 8 ½ (1963).

A director, constantly harassed and annoyed by all around him, struggles to make his new film, retreating into his memories and fantasies.

8 ½ is Italian auteur Federico Fellini’s masterpiece (and my favorite of his great films – which include: La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, La Dolce Vita, and Amarcord). Fellini worked with excellent composer Nino Rota (who also scored The Godfather and The Leopard), cinematographer Gianni Di Venanzo, and frequent collaborator production designer Piero Gherardi (who won an Oscar for costume design).

Marcello Mastroianni (who often worked with Fellini) stars in the film, with an ensemble of beautiful woman, including: Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, and Barbara Steele.

The thing that really makes 8 ½ a standout film for me is its artistry. It is an aesthetically ambitious film as Guido Anselmi navigates between reality and his imagination, and a film that is often visually striking. I also feel draw to it in a way because it is a film about filmmaking, specifically directing (which nostalgically reminds me of my frantic days as a film student running around trying to make our little films). I am not especially well versed in Italian cinema, but 8 ½ is probably my favorite (with Bicycle Thieves, Nights of Cabiria, The Leopard, A Fistful of Dollars, The Battle of Algiers, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Life Is Beautiful up there at the top too). 8 ½ is a must-see for fans of Italian cinema, Federico Fellini, or wonderful cinema in general.

Trailer: Here
Available on: Blu-ray and Video On-Demand

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