8 1/2 and yet…


That’s the mistake we all make.

-Rosella, 8 1/2 

Watched Federico Felinni’s 8 1/2 earlier today, sat transfixed by a black and white world so alien, but so familiar really. The story of Guido the film director (played by Marcello Mastroianni) who has lost his way and can say nothing to his producer and his wife and his friends, and can’t weave or edit his art to communicate.

There are so many sweet Italian lines so many tender and funny and tragic and sublime moments, one after the other or simultaneously. Time floats then speeds then stalls as we seamlessly cut from tense and heavy exchanges full of demands to scenes of childhood such as an outcast woman performing a bewitching and forbidden rumba on a beach for some schoolchildren who paid her for her performance with a coin.

8 1/2 is tragic and funny and heavy and light. The film is a buffet, all you can eat (for a couple hours), the items prepared by a clowning genius top tier chef .

The theme of the talented middle-ageded artist who has lost his voice and his focus is echoed again and again I’m sure. I was personally reminded of the movie (and I’m told damned good book by Michael Chabon) Wonder Boys starring Michael Douglas as an aging lit prof who is getting divorced and is overdue to publish.

The film conveys the meaning in meaninglessness (and the other way ’round), the absurd in the serious (and the other way ’round) and the hope of salvation, even outside the church. A man whose claws of wit and charm and art have been removed, and he must find his way back to himself, even if it is a new self.

Guido the artist expresses his will to keep moving, in spite of the demons who have bested him-at least temporarily-

When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.

To be or not to be, to continue or not, yes?


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