8 1/2 (1963)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Showbiz Comedy, Ensemble Film, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 138 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

After his international smash La Dolce Vita (1960), Federico Fellini found himself saddled with a case of director's block, inspiring him to make 8 1/2 (1963), about fictional director Guido Anselmi's case of director's block, that made visible the intimate workings of creativity. To reveal Guido's state of mind as he struggles with his filmmaking and multiple demands on his private life, Fellini seamlessly interweaves Guido's activities, fantasies, memories and dreams, doing away with any semblance of straight linear narrative structure in favor of Guido's surreally scattered psyche. In so doing, Fellini, like playwright Luigi Pirandello, reflexively examines the artistic process itself; Guido's turmoil paradoxically brings Fellini's eighth-and-a-half feature (the half stood for two shorts), to fruition. Internationally hailed as an innovative masterpiece, and a commercial success, 8 1/2 won Fellini his third Oscar for Best Foreign Film and inspired a generation of filmmakers with the singularly personal artistry that could only be described by the adjective "Felliniesque." Bob Fosse's All That Jazz (1979) and Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980) were their own 8 1/2s; Nine was the 1982 Broadway musical version.