8½

★★★★★

Portrait of the Filmmaker as a Huge Asshole. This liquidly meta movie about an egoist whose philandering forms a web of compartmentalized relationships which in turn form the basis of his throbbing imagination is something close to Joycean; everything is aestheticized, in uncontainable waves of almost criminally sumptuous imagery -- the camera frame expanding and contracting according to the nimble dance of the maestro's tilt-a-whirl crane. Fellini, I was happy to find upon a re-watch, beats his critics to the punch -- Marcello Mastroianni's personal failures belie the value of cinema-as-self-interrogation, and ultimately, 8 1/2 is not that. It's a study of a myopic narcissist, confusing his ego for the stuff of art. It is still his greatest movie.

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