The example set by French New Wave films in the late 1950s seemed to inspire established Italian auteur Federico Fellini to turn to meta-cinematic reflection in his own work. Thus the title of Fellini’s film 8½ (1963) was a self-conscious and playful homage marking that the director had at the time completed eight features and two short films (the “half”). Following international acclaim for LA DOLCE VITA (1961), Fellini’s new project starred Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi, a renowned director struggling to reconcile his artistic and personal demons who was modeled on Fellini himself (the actor even wore the Homburg hat and scarf that had become Fellini’s trademarks). Though Guido is supposed to make a post-apocalyptic science fiction movie, his artistic uncertainty and personal doubts set off a visually stunning interplay of memories, dreams, and fantasies of the women in his life, intermixed with tensions between his role as committed artist and that of a shallow celebrity. 8½ is the jewel of the post-war European art cinema.
Federico Fellini was an Italian film director and scriptwriter considered one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century. In 1944 he joined a team of writers who created ROME, OPEN CITY, often cited as the seminal film of the Italian Neorealist movement. Known for blending fantasy, baroque images and risque humor, Fellini received eight Academy Awards throughout his career. Released in 1963, 8½ is a comedy-drama that received numerous accolades——including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and an Academy Award for Best Costume Design——and was listed by the British Film Institute as one of the Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time and by the Vatican as one of the best films made before 1995.