My Tendentious View of 8 1/2

It’s no secret that this film major harbors a deep rooted affection for Fellini masterpiece 8 1/2.

So much, in fact, I decided to do a blog post about it.

For starters, for anyone who has struggled creatively, 8 1/2 is a revelation. Centered around director Guido (the stunning Marcello Mastroianni), the film studies the process of writer’s block – calling on Guido’s various female muses for inspiration. His most recent film – his 8 1/2 film of his career, his halted when he fails to find inspiration whilst distracted by women. The production of his film is interrupted by flashbacks and fantasies with the most inspirational women of his life.

Reflecting on Guido’s experiences with his wife, mistress, ideal woman, a prostitute from his childhood, his mother, and his assistant, 8 1/2 explores the raw, sensual relationship between creative men and the women who inspire them. In a truly expressive scene, Guido finds himself on the beach as a child – reflecting on the first time he felt sexually charged by a female – the temptress prostitute Saraghina, who teases the young Guido and his friends. It’s an experience, a moment, that lays foundation to Guido’s fascination with intoxicating, unavailable women.

And there’s the tenacious, infallible  Luisa, Guido’s wife. Exhausted with the convenient excuses of her husband, in one particularly poignant scene, Luisa snaps – “Just spare me the shame of hearing you swear to a mess of lies.” Her boldness, resolve, yet – wide-eyed nature in that moment – is so incredibly heartbreaking, yet, sincere and honest.

I’ve always been so incredibly inspired by 8 1/2. From the moment I laid eyes on Marcello Mastroianni, I felt significantly changed by the this film – influenced by it’s message. That artists, writers – should draw from their most personal, introspective experiences. I’ve definitely done it before – but this film continues to motivate me to do so.

Besides the incredible mise-en-scene in 8 1/2, Guido in particular, is what draws me to the film. He embodies many qualities I find attractive in a man (besides the infidelity) – intelligence, ingenuity and ok -handsome.  His character just has an incredible vision, creative process, that inspires me as a writer (and a hopeless romantic).

Case and point:

“Everything’s confused again, but that confusion is me; how I am, not how I’d like to be. And I’m not afraid to tell the truth now, what I don’t know, what I’m seeking. Only like that do I feel alive and I can look into your loyal eyes without shame. Life is a party, let’s live it together. I can’t say anything else, to you or others. Take me as I am, if you can… it’s the only way we can try to find each other.”

What’s your favorite part of 8 1/2?

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