8½

★★★★

Well, I’ve finally managed to sit through a whole Fellini film. I am impressed. 8 1/2 was quite a production. It has an enormous number of extras. The filming locations are vast. Costumes and make-up were very fashionable for the early 60s. The thing about 8 1/2 is that eight and a half might sound like a manageable number (depending, of course) but what really stands out to me about this film is the excess. Too much of just about everything. Granted, being autistic, I am hypersensitive to audio stimulation and this film is turns into an absolute bloody cacophony of human voices all talking at once. I completely understand surrealism. It’s based on dreams and as a surrealist film it gets off to a great start. But if Fellini’s dreams were actually this noisy, I can only see them as nightmares and I pity the man. I absolutely adore good surrealism! Loplop is my spirit animal! But this was torture for me as an autistic woman. This is as close to a true autistic sensory meltdown as I’ve had in quite a long time. I suppose that’s what I get for being an “absolutely no spoilers” type. I read as little as possible about a film before I watch it. I don’t want to know ahead of time and I don’t want to have any expectations. 8 1/2 got off to such a marvelous start that I wasn’t prepared for the noise. This might be a masterpiece. It might be an outrageously overrated and outdated movie. I am not neurologically equipped to judge. I just wanted to let people that have sensitivities to sound or are neurodivergent/autistic know that they might want to avoid this.

Also, I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone would cast a woman as breathtakingly beautiful as Anouk Aimée who plays Luisa Anselmi in this film and the titular character in Jacques Demy’s Lola, and put that wig on her and dress her like a mousy psychiatric patient and as a servant. Ok. I understand that she’s playing a wife that is quietly condoning her husband’s philandering or pseudo-philandering. His neglected mistress, Carla (Sandra Milo,) is the treated similarly but takes the opposite approach to Luisa in how she dresses in her velvet and fur. I did like Claudia’s (Claudia Cardinale) “escargot” look, though.

I do think that the concept of 8 1/2 is brilliant. It would be interesting if someone would dare to remake it.
I won’t go so far as to say that I wish that I wasn’t autistic so that I could handle this movie because I really love being autistic. I am a little bit bummed out that I couldn’t handle the whole thing and I would like to be a lot more objective in my reviews. But as a fellow autistic David Byrne says in American Utopia, “I am what I am.” 

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