ash’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sì, questo è certamente Italiano. Un film molto buono.
Seems almost destined that my 3,500th film happens to be my first ever Fellini, but 8 1/2 leaves me assured in seeking out more of his work, amazed by the sheer artistry shining through its originality and influence.
A magical proposition of reality, as reality fades into the dream world and the visions of the fictional and conceived come alive to the real world, in tangibility.
It - very spectacularly - feels both personal and yet ambiguous to Fellini’s occupation as a filmmaker and director. It certainly casts a perspective on filmmaking and directing that goes on to inspire a posterity of films and filmmakers, and in that stance, it strikes as a sort of personal manifesto into the standpoint of being a director and what scenarios and materials - people, things, places, memories - are incorporated into the vision of a film, in what personally ties a maker to that of their creation. Yet, it certainly tinges itself towards a certain ambiguity from its maker at times, with its more fantastical elements, of fiction, memory and dream slowly blending into the threads of actuality; a sort of personal state of delirium, that embodies both that of a humanised nightmare and that of a cherished escape simultaneously, in the film’s extreme strides away from reality. Though, neither of these two ends feel at any point imbalanced - there’s certainly an equilibrium in balancing these two distant tones through the film - often even in the same scene - that strikes as both intelligent and comprehensive. I feel like that particular distinction is what binds it to such rave reverence; it’s what appealed to me most.
I honestly see the praise Fellini gets for 8 1/2 and it’s deserving of it. Its influences on future generations are evident and vastly remembered, it’s an immersive piece of cinema that amalgamates dream into reality, and Fellini’s direction is pronounced and understood through such resonantly reflective attitudes. Calling something - in essence, anything, actually - one of the most influential pieces of art is no light praise but Federico Fellini’s spell of ambition and surrealism over 8 1/2 is surely worthy.
Keen to explore more of his work now, and I will actually be living up to that promise, by hopefully sneaking in a watch of La Dolce Vita sometime this month, since it’s on my watchlist for June anyways.