Pin It

DVD Review-8 1/2 

by Marty Demarest

The title, 8 1/2 refers to the film's number in director Federico Fellini's output. It hardly indicates one of the most perfect artistic creations in cinema; but that's precisely what 8 1/2 is. There's hardly a moment in this 1963 classic that hasn't become iconic: Marcello Mastroianni brandishing a whip in a harem full of the women in his life; a hulking woman dancing the rumba on a beach; that overwhelming closing sequence of all the characters in the film dancing hand in hand.

At its most simple level, the story of 8 1/2 is about a film director, Guido (Mastroianni), who is caught up in the preparations for a movie that he has yet to write. Surrounding him are technicians eager to create, actors and actresses eager for work, intellectuals eager to theorize and his wife, eager to leave him and to love him at the same time.

Continually indulging in nostalgia and fantasy, Guido makes the process of creation an exploration of the forces driving him. Continually critical of both himself and others, every moment in the film resonates with irreconcilable truths, palpable emotion and loving humor, brought to the screen by one of its all-time great craftsmen.

Even though it's possible to see 8 1/2 onscreen regularly at art houses and festivals, Criterion's two-disk DVD set is required viewing for film lovers. Not only have they achieved a digital transfer of the film that is almost perfect, but they've also filled the disks with serious supplemental material that illuminates Fellini's masterpiece even further.

There are two smaller features, one made by Fellini himself, the other focusing on the brilliant composer Nino Rota; they'd be worthwhile purchases on their own. And rather than the usual fluff that exists under the guise of "interviews" on most DVDs, the discussions here -- with cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in particular -- make one rush back to the complete film for newly enlightened reviewings.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Age of Zaycon
  • Age of Zaycon

    Spokane Valley's Zaycon Fresh found a way to make millions selling meat — and now it's trying to make a lot more
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Hazy Days of Summer
  • Hazy Days of Summer

    Smoke blankets the region; plus, Patty Murray on the proposed Iran deal
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • Brick by Brick
  • Brick by Brick

    Development continues in downtown Spokane; here are some construction projects that could change the city's urban core
    • Aug 26, 2015
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event

Saving Seeds: A Seed Library Event @ Hillyard Library

Tue., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Manufacturing Fear

    Spokane's Republican sheriff says members of his own party are dangerously dividing people
    • Aug 12, 2015
  • 'Flip of a Coin'

    A Spokane Valley deputy trained to spot stoned and drunk drivers is wrong nearly as often as he is right, blood tests from drivers show
    • Aug 19, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment




Publisher's Note


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation