Fellini’s 8 1/2

8 1/2
May 17
Mon 5:15
(Italy / 1963 / dir by Federico Fellini)
Staff Pick – presented by Steve Leiber (co-founder of Upstate Films) on Sunday, May 16th at 8pm, in Rhinebeck
Fellini’s masterpiece deals with a forty-something film director in a free-fall mid-life crisis beleaguered by everyone and everything as he begins shooting his new project.
For Fellini, memory, passion, and creativity are three rings in his circus of life and cinema. Whether on the beach with his childhood friends ogling the voluptuous prostitute Saraghina, or on location juggling his wife (Anouk Aimée), his lover (Sandro Milo), his impatient producer(s), his nasty writer, his assistant, the press, his uneasy actors, and the wannabes and hangers-on, Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is not even a half step ahead of what comes next. And it’s that sense of the unexpected, and the way it’s filmed, that creates an immediacy that gives the film such a kick. For unlike his protagonist, Fellini is way ahead, leading us into a fascinating cinematic experience. Mastroianni is perfect as Guido, a man plagued by his Catholic guilt, his passions, his imagination, his ennui. The opening sequence of Guido escaping through the sunroof of his car while stuck in a suffocating traffic jam, then floating up into the clouds before suddenly being wrenched back to earth sets the tone for a film filled with flashbacks, fantasy sequences, and surrealist flourishes. Flat out-here’s one of the great films that begs to be savored and revisited. And Nino Rota’s score is sublime. In Italian with subtitles.
Unrated / 138 mins.
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