IMDb Top 250: #235 8½

8½ (1963)

Director: Federico Fellini
Writers: Federico Fellini (story), Ennio Flaiano (story)
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.


Federico Fellini remains in the history of cinematography as one of the best directors of all time. This movie is, in theory, auto-biographical, but it seems unlikely Fellini would have ever been so artistically challenged.

8½ is a movie about a director who has had a big hit and now seeks to recover from it at a health spa. But he is hounded there and everywhere by those who depend on him – his producer, his writer, his mistress, his would-be stars. The producer has spent a fortune to build a gigantic set of a rocket ship, but the directior has no cue what the movie will be about.

The movie is the portrait of an artist’s biggest nightmares: a lack of ideas, and the balancing act between the artistic and the commercial. I found this movie to be ironic in the fact that it is rich with ideas and brilliant scenes, while being a movie about the so-called artistic bankruptcy.

And, of course, there’s that fabulous scene when our director imagines that all the women in his life have forgiven him. It’s a lot more than that, but I wouldn’t like to spoil the surprise.

Truly brilliant movie. I recommend it.


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