After having directed six feature films, co-directed one (THE WHITE SHEIK), and directed two short episodes of anthology movies, Federico Fellini had made, according to his count, seven and a half films--hence the title of this brilliant, sumptuous semi-autobiographical account of the
Marcello Mastroianni plays Fellini-like figure Guido Anselmi, a director coming off a big hit. He needs rest and goes to a spa to regain his strength. He cannot recuperate, however, being interrupted instead by his producer (Guido Alberti), his screenwriter (Jean Rougeul), his wife (Anouk Aimee),
and his mistress (Sandra Milo), all of whom want details from the director about his new sci-fi film. Hundreds of people are waiting in the wings, but Guido finds himself creatively blocked and fends off the inquiries of his actors, reporters, and especially his persistent screenwriter, in between
lapsing into fantasy visions of past, present, and future.
8 1/2 is a grab-bag of Felliniesque delights, with stunning photography by Di Venanzo, superb performances, a haunting score from Nino Rota, and a labyrinthine structure that keeps the viewer in a pleasurable state of confusion. It received an Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
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