Previously at the ICA - Films

8 1/2

21 Apr 201222 Apr 2012

In this classic of Italian cinema, a film director, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), is stalled, unable to make the film he has planned, luxuriating in his inner conflict between his love for his wife (Anouk Aimee) and his desire for his mistress (Claudia Cardinale). Pressured from all sides to get on with a new movie, Guido escapes into memory/fantasy (the distinction blurs), re-encountering significant moments in his life and past loves in a surreal landscape of high-contrast lighting and circus magic.

Fellini’s celebrated autobiographical masterpiece is a mesmerising piece of cinema - elegant, comic and blithe. The high-key cinematography from Di Venzano and flash-card structuring place the film firmly in the 1960s, and like Antonioni’s Blow Up, 8 1/2 represents a central example of cinema’s interrogation of its own medium. The character of Guido is made all the more potent because Fellini faced many similar problems getting this film made, and it’s this sense of the autobiographical that elevates the film to the highest reaches of the artform.

Dir: Federico Fellini, Italy/France 1963, 139 mins, 15 cert
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo.

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