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8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection)
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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
The item arrived in perfect condition and played flawlessly. The resolution was excellent. The price was right and I am happy with my purchase. I recommend this vendor.Published 4 days ago by Ron A
Rome eternal! This one never fades! Better now than ever. If you haven't treated yourself lately, indulge right now!Published 23 days ago by marian
Although Fellini often said Americans over-analyze his films, 8 1/2 is clearly the story of an existential confrontation with the absurd. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Michael Rossum
This movie is a gorgeously shot classic. Amazing and beautiful.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I have admittedly been on a tear lately watching (or in some cases re-watching) some foreign films that were all the rage among college students and young professionals in the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alfred Johnson
Too long. Too complex. Required too much knowledge of how films are made.Published 3 months ago by Galen K. Pletcher
Ok this is an incredibly well made film about making film. The opening sequence alone is incredible and the cinematography is just dreamy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Luke Ulbrich
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