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8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The storyline itself is very simple. A famous director is preparing a new film, but finds himself suffering from creative block: he is obsessed by, loves, and feels unending frustration with both art and women, and his attention and ambition flies in so many different directions that he is suddenly incapable of focusing on one possibility lest he negate all others. With deadlines approaching the cast and crew descend upon him demanding information about the film--information that the director does not have because he finds himself incapable of making an artistic choice.
What makes the film interesting is the way in which Fellini ultimately transforms the film as a whole into a commentary on the nature of creativity, art, mid-life crisis, and the battle of the sexes. Throughout the film, the director dreams dreams, has fantasies, and recalls his childhood-and this internal life is presented on the screen with the same sense of reality as reality itself. The staging of the various shots is unique; one is seldom aware that the characters have slipped into a dream, fantasy, or memory until one is well into the scene, and as the film progresses the lines between external life and internal thought become increasingly blurred, with Fellini giving as much (if not more) importance to fantasy as to fact.
The performances and the cinematography are key to the film's success.Read more ›
The most obvious achievement in 8 1/2, Fellini's mind-boggling piece of self-examination, is its audacious mixture of dreams and reality in order to show the protagonist Guido's whimsical mind state. Dream sequences come and go without warning, depicting Guido's pain, yearning, frustration, guilt that can pop up at any instant. The first time we see Guido's face, it is his mirror image, hinting to us the unreality we are about to face. Some of the dream sequences have a Bunuel-like surrealism. Some of them, however, blend almost seamlessly into scenes of reality, intentionally confounding us. Some are nightmarish, yet some are warm and hopeful. Some are brief flights of fancy, and some are lengthy, elaborate, wild visions that reflect Guido's heightened sense of confusion and anxiety. Although the film is often called the best film ever made about a filmmaker, its theme is universal in that it is a vivid picturization of a person's (and by extension, any person's) mind, which is often haunted by the past, tormented by the present, and apprehensive about the future and the unknown...
The Criterion Blu-ray edition duplicates all the content in the bonus features and booklet of the DVD edition, but offers a high-def picture and lossless uncompressed mono track. The 1080p video transfer seems to come from the same high-def source that created the DVD edition (which looks very good itself), so you get the inherent advantage of high-def over standard-def, which is 2-3 times higher resolution horizontally and vertically. The uncompressed audio track is encoded at a bit rate of 1152 kbps, which is 6 times higher than that of the DVD's Dolby Digital mono track.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
8 1/2 is beyond stars. One of the best films by one of the greatest directors. 8 1/2 is flim perfection.Published 2 months ago by Robert Sweedler
With this movie, one has a choice between writing a long review that seeks to place it in the context of modernism as an artistic movement or writing a short review that just says,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stanley Crowe
Federico Fellini is a GENIUS! This movie is a masterpiece and the music by Nino Rota just makes you want to be in the movie dancing with everyone at the end.Published 2 months ago by Cadinho
This movie is boring and without a topic. I don't see how others rate it in the top 100 movies.Published 3 months ago by Juan C Placerncia
wonderful to see it again; after decades, it still holds up as a fascinating film. The DVD was not the most perfectly produced and skipped during playing on my DVD player but I was... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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