8½ Day 4 FFF 2013

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Marcello Mastianni Shines in the Title Role of 8 1/2

Marcello Mastianni Shines in the Title Role of 81/2

[Editor’s Note: Mrs. LanceAround is a vital part of this blog. She often reviews each post and gives insightful critiques and suggestions. Today, a special film from her past has encouraged her to submit her first blog post. I think we’ll all agree she’s a welcome addition to the front line team and we hope she writes many more!]

Tonight was a special FFF presentation celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 classic 8½ by famed Italian Film Director Fredrico Felliniat at the Enzian theatre. It was thrilling to see 8½ again. I first saw the black and white movie in a college film course oh so many years ago. The brilliance and depth of the newly re-mastered version is exquisite.

The title, , refers to the number of films Fellini had made up to that point. We learned in my film class that Fellini faithfully kept a notebook of life events and dreams which he drew upon for inspiration for his films. The dream-like and sometimes surreal feel of many of his films places his work among the best known avant-garde films of all time. earned the Best Foreign Film and Best Costume Design (Black and White) at the Academy Awards of 1963 and was also nominated for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Art Direction (Black and White).

The film depicts the struggle of a burned-out film director, perfectly played by Marcello Mastianni, in his attempt to begin a new film. To escape the constant urgings of his producer, he retreats into his dreams and fantasies dredging up encounters with priests from his childhood, erotic fascination with a strange older woman, time spent with a ditzy mistress and love for his solid, sensible wife. The film ends with a parade of characters from his life interacting with one another in a friendly way as they stroll together down a wide staircase.

Many film critics view the film as a portrayal of the internal process of a filmmaker drawing on his own life to tell a story. Each time I watch a Fellini film, I’m awed by and grateful for Fellini’s willingness to be so vulnerable for his art’s sake.

I suppose that is what all great artists do.

After the film, the Italian Restaurant Buca di Beppo, located right across the street from the Enzian Theatre, treated filmgoers to a sample of their bruschetta, pasta salad, meatballs and chocolate chip cannoli. The food was as delicious as the film was exquisite. It was the perfect way to end a classic evening.

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