8½

★★★★★

With 8 ½, Fellini projects his neuroses onto the silver screen and creates an exhilarating masterpiece.

It's a movie about making this particular movie. It merges reality and dream; is a banquet for the eyes and imagination, and boasts one of filmdom's greatest opening sequences, as well as one of its most memorable endings (which is richer than it might appear on a first viewing).

In the Criterion commentary, the movie is described as "a hall of mirrors, with an infinite regression of truths, lies, and fantasies." And that's certainly apt. It's a picture that's both simple and complex; it's one where you appreciate the details and seek to unravel its mysteries, but also one where you simply 'feel it', and soak in the unfettered artistic expression in all its glory.

It's quintessential Fellini, being semi-autobiographical and touching on matters of sex, philosophy, and catholicism. And of course, there's the circus.

...and it's all a circus. Throughout you'll find a collection of hangups, regrets, denials. Creative blocks, relationship landmines, and memories that delight or disturb. Every bit of it is part of life's grand, mad procession.

8 ½ is one of my top 5 favorite features, and I have no qualms in going further by calling it the greatest Italian film of all time. Brilliant movie, superb Criterion release. I also enjoyed revisiting Terry Gilliam's enthusiastic introduction.

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