Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
Original title: Otto E Mezzo
Italy/France, 1963. Cineriz, Francinex. Story by Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Screenplay by Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Federico Fellini, Brunello Rondi. Cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo. Produced by Angelo Rizzoli. Music by Nino Rota. Production Design by Piero Gherardi. Costume Design by Piero Gherardi. Film Editing by Leo Catozzo. Podcast: My Criterions.
Following the huge success of La Dolce Vita, Fellini finds himself pressed to make another film but is struggling to come up with anything worthwhile. Instead, he makes a film about a director (Marcello Mastroianni as the maestro’s alter ego) who has just made a hugely successful film and can’t find the inspiration to make another one.
The film Mastroianni is trying to make ends up being the film you’re watching, and through a series of personal confrontations, deliciously weird dream sequences and life-affirming revelations, we all go on the artistic journey with him. Beautifully costumed by Piero Gherardi, who deservedly won a second Oscar for his work, the film is dazzling to all senses and full of many juicy moments for audiences to enjoy. It moves at a deliriously elegant pace and features excellent performances from the entire cast, especially Anouk Aimee as Mastroianni’s emotionally fatigued wife and Sandra Milo as his bubbly mistress.
The biggest star, though, has to be Fellini, because for the entire two and a half hours you never forget that his artistic genius is behind the camera.
The Criterion Collection: #140
Academy Awards: Best Costume Design-BW; Best Foreign Language Film
Nominations: Best Director (Federico Fellini); Best Original Story and Screenplay; Best Art Direction-BW