Saturday, April 21, 2007

8 1/2

Before seeing Fellini's best-known movie 8 1/2, I always thought he was overrated. Now I have to admit that 8 1/2 is one of the best films EVER made. The film tells the story about Guido, a film director's struggles and frustrations in making a film as well as in his personal life. It seems Fellini had an obssession with movie/celebrity related themes, as seen in his White Sheik and La Dolce Vita. In 8 1/2, Fellini materfully and naturally blurred the boudaries between reality, dream, memory, fantasy and imagination as a truthful portrait of Guido's subjective world. Two other similar masterpieces came cross my mind are Bergman's Wild Strawberries and Tarkovsky's The Mirror. Compared to 8 1/2, they tell the story more "seriously". Perhaps due to Fellini's background as a cartoonist, he always kept a child's vision to re-interpret life in a playful way.

The absurdity of life makes reality more unreal, makes dream and fantasy more real. The realistic scenes are often displayed in a chaotic and carnivalesque gesture, almost close to fantasy; however dream sequences speak of the truth - the most noticeable one is the opening dream sequence which palpably sums up all Guido's suffocating feelings (see the clip below). At the end of film, all the characters (the living, the dead) are brought together in a carnival circular dance, somehow reminding me of the "merry-go-round" scene at the end of Tati's Playtime, as a surreal but festive solution to all the problems, stress and despair inside Guido.


Pete said...

i borrowed that film one time, but i think i didnt get the chance to see it..

XENIA said...

i did that before. so this is the 2nd or even the 3rd time i borrowed it :P i bet you will love the movie!