8 ˝: The Mind of an Italian Film Maker*

         Frederico Fellini’s 1963 film, entitled 8 ˝, is a great film because it can be seen as taking elements from other great films and adding a very personal level to them. In a global perspective, 8 ˝ adds a new level of realism to that of other Italian works in film. It does so by projecting the audience into the real authentic thoughts of the film maker. The film is autobiographical in nature about a film maker with writer’s block. In this way the film is also about the creative process, and the director has a unique take on it by presenting what he is going through at the time. The film shows his struggles with relationships and how they affect his work. In a way that is contradictory to realism, the director shows us dream sequences that the main character is having. These are viewed as unreal, but it is a very real thing for someone to search for inspiration in dreams. The inclusion of these sequences is a great way for the director to show the audience his creative process.

         A great way this film relates to another is that 8 ˝ could be seen as autobiographical in a more direct way than Orson Welles’s 1941 Citizen Kane. 8 ˝ tells of failed romances in the same way that Citizen Kane does. Both of these movies are very real to the audience in this regard. The director is expressing his emotions through the use of cinema and that is very real to us and is intriguing. We even see the film maker’s struggles within the business of making film. Bosses on production schedules nag him, and this hinders his creative process even more.

         It is no surprise that these elements put this film in the same category of Citizen Kane as one of the greatest films ever made. There must be something about the way some directors can offer audiences a view into the complex workings of the human psyche that make a film intriguing by nature.

Brian Schuldt

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