Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

31 May 2005

Eight-and-a-Half

Fellini's 8 1/2 is not exactly a mess. It's more like... a carnival. I have been avoiding watching it for a while now, and when I finally got up the moxie to put it into the top regions of my Netflix queue, I received it in the mail and just let it sit on top of my DVD player for three weeks or so. I watched it tonight, and I have to say that it was exactly what I expected it to be. It wasn't, for me, a work of genius the way La Dolce Vita and Nights of Cabiria are. (Truth be told I have only seen 4 or 5 of his films.) But 8 1/2 is very good. It isn't what I would call confusing but it is definitely about confusion in a lot of ways and it does a fabulous job of capturing the way memory and fantasy are so much a part of everyday existence: the scenes merge right into one another as Guido thinks of them. It's frequently visually arresting and yet at times it feels a lot like La Dolce Vita: perhaps it's the presence of Marcello Mastroianni. I dunno. I mean, it's excellent, but I didn't love it.