Música: Nino Rota
Intérpretes: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Claudia Cardinale Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele, Guido Alberti, Madeleine Lebeau, Jean Rougeul.
ITA/FRA, 1963, 133´
Guido Anselmi, um realizador de sucesso, está envolvido na rodagem de um filme dispendioso e ambicioso, no qual se sente totalmente perdido. Em plena depressão nervosa, refugia-se numas termas nas proximidades do local de rodagem. Carla, a sua excêntrica amante, visita-o e pouco depois surge também Luísa, a sua resignada e sofredora mulher. Guido está cercado por elementos da produção do filme que o pressionam, actrizes que aspiram a um papel e intlectuais sofisticados que lhe querem vender ideias. Guido tenta fugir a toda esta alucinação, mergulhando nas suas fantasias sexuais e nas suas memórias de infância. Por fim, regressa ao local de filmagem disposto a renunciar a tudo, mas o público, sob a alucinante forma de uma espécie de circo humano, obriga-o a continuar e aponta-lhe o caminho a seguir.
Óscar do Melhor Filme Estrangeiro em 1964, Óscar do Melhor Guarda Roupa para um Filme a Preto e Branco
“Fellini-Oito e Meio” é um dos mais portentosos filmes de toda a História do Cinema sobre o próprio Cinema. Fellini, no rescaldo do estrondoso sucesso de “A Doce Vida” e em crise de inspiração, decide em 1963 rodar esta fabulosa confissão cinematográfica, que é um dos mais espantosos auto-retratos ficcionados que alguma vez um cineasta deu de si próprio. Assim, Marcello Mastroianni dá corpo ao perfeito “alter ego” de Fellini, no papel do angustiado cineasta de sucesso em crise de inspiração e perdido no meio do alucinante circo da rodagem de um filme, acabando por se refugiar nas suas fantasias e memórias. Fellini fala do cinema, do poder, da arte, da corrupção, da moral, do dinheiro, do amor, do casamento, da amizade, da ambição, da desilusão, da religião, da infância, do circo e, no limite, de como um homem deve viver. Tudo isto com uma exuberância visual , com um fascínio emocional e com uma capacidade de surpreender e intrigar, de plano para plano, como só os cineastas mais geniais são capazes. Literalmente, Fellini fala de Fellini num filme que é um dos mais pessoais, intensos e extravagantes auto-retratos alguma vez feitos em cinema.
By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
February 26, 1993
In 1964, when Dwight MacDonald reviewed Federico Fellini’s “8½” for Esquire, he called it the Italian maestro’s “obvious masterpiece.” Today, as the film approaches its 30th anniversary with a spanky new 35mm print, that evaluation still sounds about right — perhaps even more so than when “8½” was first released.
Of course, MacDonald intended for “obvious” to serve a double meaning. And he used the term “masterpiece” as if it set his ornery teeth on edge. “Fellini has made a movie,” he wrote, “that I can’t see any way not to recognize as a masterpiece.”
Not appreciate. Recognize, as if he had to squint and put on his glasses.
And yet MacDonald’s grudging faint praise isn’t merely a case of critical distemper. He’d hit on something fundamental, not just about “8½” but about all of Fellini — that he is that rare sort of artist who can be loved, revered and just barely tolerated, all at the same time.
What we just barely tolerate in this chronologically numbered, blatantly autobiographical opus is the shamelessly overluscious “Italian-ness” of it — the priests and the nuns, all that symbolism and emotionalism and chicly weary self-absorption — a trait that through the lead character of Guido, his alter ego and filmmaker without a clue, Fellini parodies with one brush stroke and indulges with the next.
Also on this list of negatives is his sentimentality, and his tendency to substitute his trademark mannerisms — his auteur’s stamp — for true substance, and cover his deficiencies with his astounding sense of visual lyricism and romance.
Yet, still, what beautiful mannerisms, what lyricism and romance.
Never again was Fellini as successful as he was here in his use of film as a theater for soul-searching. Loaded with self-referential detail, “8 1/2” is the director’s self-mocking chronicle of his inability to come up with a worthy subject for his next film. Guido is dried up as an artist, and spent as a man. And so lacking a true subject or thematic direction, he turns inward, focusing on his emptiness (which out of vanity he mistakes for depth) and his suffering, most of which is self-inflicted.
With gray streaking his hair, a black hat, black suit and black-rimmed glasses, Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido (and for once the verb fits perfectly) as Fellini, down to the last detail, and from the outset it’s clear that he is an irresistible weakling, a pampered mama’s boy and a lout — self-proclaimed! Which is supposed to make him all the more adorable.
Has there ever been a filmmaker who got more pleasure out of hating his weaknesses than Fellini? Or displayed them with greater pride and verve? Fellini hates Guido (and Guido hates himself) for the lies he tells his wife (Anouk Aimee), his mistress (Sandra Milo) and the rest of his harem of women (including Claudia Cardinale) who clutter up his life and make it impossible for him to create his greatest, most personal, most definitive work.
The irony of course is that Fellini is in the process of creating the very sort of sweeping, ground-clearing work that is beyond the talents of his own feeble stand-in. Structurally, the film has been much imitated — by Woody Allen in “Stardust Memories,” for example, which stole its basic premise — but no other filmmaker (with the possible exception of Cocteau) has been able to move as easily back and forth in time, to range from childhood to the present, or shuttle as seamlessly between dreams, fantasies and reality as Fellini does here.
Guido is an artist in extremis. Feeling the need to purge himself and escape into his art, Guido goes to a fashionable spa for their mineral water cure. Once he’s arrived, though, he’s clawed at everywhere he goes by producers, hangers-on, starlets, friends and foes alike, all of whom want to know when he’s going to tell them something about the breakthrough film they’re supposed to be making.
They wait throughout the entire picture while Guido squirms and equivocates, until out of desperation he grasps at the closest, easiest solution. Fellini’s final stab at resolution at the movie’s end comes dangerously close to trashing the flashes of genuine brilliance and insight that had come before. It was then — and still is now — a facile, unsupported ending. Instead of forcing this phony family-of-man finale on us, he might have left us alone with Guido and all he has left, himself and his charming, ludicrous suffering, the clown and his circus of pain