8 1/2

Movie Information

In Brief: If you only see one Federico Fellini film, 8 1/2 is the one to see. It's the film where Fellini emerged as the fully-formed fantasist he's most identified as. It's a beguiling fantasy about a filmmaker trying to come to terms with his life, his spirituality, his love life and the big movie already in the works that he's supposed to make — even though he has only the barest notion of what that film will be. Whether it actually means anything or is simply a look at a filmmaker's own confusion is up to you, but it's a ride like few others.
Genre: Surreal Semi-autobiographical Comedy Drama
Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Barbara Steele
Rated: NR

When 8 1/2 showed here a few years back, I wrote: “One of the undisputed classics of modern international film, 8 1/2 (its title literally meaning that it was Federico Fellini’s eight-and-one-halfth film — seven full features and a couple short segments of omnibus films precede it) is the movie where the greatest of all Italian filmmakers moved completely away from traditional realism toward a more personal approach to cinema. His goal was to reach a greater reality by eschewing reality in the conventional sense. The degree to which that approach succeeds probably depends more on the viewer than the filmmaker. At bottom, 8 1/2 is a fantasy about a filmmaker, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), spending time at a health spa while trying to sort out his personal, artistic and spiritual life. Intensely personal, 8 1/2 basically depicts Fellini making a movie about trying to decide what movie he wants to make! ‘I really have nothing to say,’ Guido realizes, adding, ‘but I want to say it all the same.’ That may sound confusing, but it’s really not — it’s merely self-revelatory in a way that few filmmakers (Jean Cocteau, Ingmar Bergman, and Ken Russell come to mind) have ever dared to be.”

For full review go here: http://avl.mx/rx

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present 8 1/2 Friday, April 5 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District, upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332, www.ashevillecourtyard.com

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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