Yesterday was the first day of Cannes and it was the first time I saw a film with the intriguing title of 8½.
I'm not talking about that blending mode or the amount of films Fellini had made up until 1963 - or am I? 8½ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year and it became an instant success. 41 years after its release, it was honored by being selected for the official poster of the festival and it became one of the two films I decided to watch in order to forget I wasn't attending the festival. 8½ is a strange film that plays with your perception of reality and the world of dreams and also is fully aware of its sexiness as a black-and-white Italian film. Never again have the screens of our cinemas experienced such stylishness and they perhaps never will. Marcello Mastroianni strolls the hotel hallways, Dolce Vita beaches and film sets in a film set like a God who just so happens to pay us peasants a visit while also maintaining an oddly fragile flavor in his character. Obviously (question mark?) he represents director Fellini himself, who - according to film bibles - directed himself out of an existential crisis with this film. Fellini blends the oddity and dreaminess of La Strada with the hedonism from La Dolce Vita into some of the most delicious, intriguing cinematic mush I have tasted yet. (Or did I just say that because those are the Fellini films I have seen?). Beside the clever script, abstract imagery and intellectually stimulating dialogue, it's also, surprisingly, the sound that makes 8½ stand out in cinematic history. Whether it's the buzz from the door, the clicking of polished heels on marble or that all-Italian beach swoosh, the sound of this film sweeps you away and draws you in at the same time.
I think I know what the title stands for now: the 8½th heaven.
1963 • Italy • Italian/ English/ French/ German
director Frederico Fellini
authors Frederico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi
★ Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee
„What is this flash of joy that's giving me new life?“