8½

★★★★★

r/Letterboxd - Film Club 033 - Movies on Movies

Films are dreams.
The creative process is daunting.
Dreams are films.

The grandfather of all metatextual cinema; stands head and shoulders above the rest. Fellini rejects Freud's psychoanalytic theory about dreams being links to the subconscious, but rather embraces Jung's thoughts on the collective unconscious; creating a new filmic vocabulary to express emotions to provoke his audience. Fellini's imagery in 8½ is a fine juxtaposition of the real and the surreal, life and dreams forever intertwined. A follow up to another masterpiece La Dolce Vita, Fellini reflects honestly and earnestly on the process of filmmaking, turning the film in on itself and picking apart the incubation of ideas, the realisation, the struggles. Elements of the narrative are drawn from Fellini's own life experiences, yet Fellini insists that this is not a solely autobiographical work; but merely a tapestry of surrealist contemplation.

You overcome creative block through experimentation, this leads to Fellini working with these camera movements and set ups that come across as almost acrobatic in nature; stark images of weightlessness and lofted existentialism through cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo's lens. The crisp black and white photography elevates the dreamlike state that Fellini crafts. The dazzling whites gleam, illuminated like the constant flash of the paparazzi snapping photos.

8½ is a foundational piece of postmodernist meta-cinema, it's a tantalizing film that is endlessly rewatchable.

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