: An Inner-Space Odyssey

         The title refers to the number of movies Federico Fellini had directed up until that point - six features, two short (1/2) films and "half a picture" (Luci del Varieta' his first, co-directed with Alberto Lattuada), for a total of 7 1/2. So this one is number 8 1/2. The genius of this film is that the director has no clue what his next film is going to be about, but yet, it seems that he has everything under control.

         The scene where Guido is in the studio and people are bombarding him with questions, ideas, recommendations and introductions is a very similar to a scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Another film that is thought to have been highly influenced by 8 ˝ was Michael Gondry’s 2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In 8 ˝, Guido has a flashback of his childhood where people are taking care of him by bathing him and drying him off. Later on in the film, he has the same flashback but he his grownup self. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey’s character, Joel Barish, is experiencing the same thing. His grownup body is shrunken down on screen to the tiny size of a mouse. He is underneath the kitchen table refusing to come out from the table and take a bath. Kate Winslet’s character, Clementine Kruczynski, is kind of playing the role of his mother and is demanding that he come out and take a bath.

         I find it all too interesting to see films today revert back to their influences and use ideas and concepts for their films. Some critics knock it and say that it is being unoriginal, but most say it is giving homage to their idols.

         The film weaves in and out of reality and fantasy. Some critics have complained because they could not tell the difference between what was real and what was going on in Guido’s mind. Fellini surely did not mean to confuse audiences, but to challenge them in seeing what difficulties a film director goes through when directing a film.

Derek Owen

Table of Contents