8½ (1963)

8½ (1963), directed by Federico Fellini.

One director's "my world and welcome to it".

This is impossible to review briefly. Generations of film writers have gone on and on about it's embarrassment of riches, the clever staging and continuous symbolic gags. It is a deeply autobiographical work about the director and his work, his loss of confidence and his troubles with all the women in his life. You can't separate the film and the director in this case.

It is self-referential, not just about his films, but about the making of this specific film. A visual feast. It's often funny and the symbols aren't particularly subtle or obscure.

Before listening to the commentary track I had not realized that Claudia Cardinale was Tunisian, of Sicilian parents. At home she spoke French, Arabic, and Sicilian, and did not learn Italian until she got into film. They say she spoke it with a French accent.

I was startled to see British actress Barbara Steele (she whom every Goth Girl wants to be) who had a career in Italian horror films. I last saw her in Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960) and Roger Corman's Pit and the Pendulum (1961).

Score by Nino Rota.

Criterion Blu-ray with a great image. Fairly dry gang commentary track, assembled from different sources.