8 ˝: Influential in Concept and Form

        8 ˝, a film directed by Federico Fellini in 1963, was an influential film in both its concept and cinematic form. On one hand, the film introduced the idea of making a movie about a rather mundane occurrence (in this case, writer’s block), and turning it into something terrifying and dramatic. In addition to subject matter, this film was significant artistically due to its surrealist qualities, use of fading and flashbacks, and the seamless melding of reality with fantasy. Also, several minor artistic choices were made to add to the overall feel of the film, including the use of black and white instead of color, and the unorthodox presentation of past and present through the strange juxtapositions of objects, sets, and characters.

         Oddly enough, one of the most intriguing aspects of 8 ˝ is its subject matter. Fellini focused on the idea of real personal struggle and successfully made a rather boring problem something intriguing and complex. The subject for this film also introduced the idea of a running metaphor. Although this film could be seen as a simple portrayal of an instance of writer’s block, it in fact represents the ongoing struggles of a director’s life socially, emotionally, and physically. This was achieved through the use of intricate scene transitions, dramatic fantasies intertwined with everyday life, and the inclusion of eccentric flashbacks amongst reality.

         The artistic aspects of this film were also quite commendable and influential. Foremost, the decision to shoot in black and white rather than in color was significant. Not only did this unify the film, but also it gave an ephemeral, fanciful quality to the scenes and made them flow nearly flawlessly together. In addition, many of the camera shots and juxtapositions in this film lent themselves to artistic expression. This film also had a strong surrealist influence with its bizarre, dreamlike portrayal of life. For instance, there were numerous scenes that were shot as if they were depicting reality, and yet the simple inclusion of odd twists in costume, character, or set made it difficult to distinguish truth from fantasy.

Jenny Meier

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