Fellini's 8 1/2

2001 Words5 Pages

“The original title of Fellini’s 8 ½ was ‘Beautiful Confusion,’ and Fellini branded his film as a comedy. Anyone who has seen 8 ½ cannot help but laugh at the eclectic and satirical humor that imbues Fellini’s work, but ultimately the feature does not come off as comic,” (Horak). While certain critics (such as Horak) argue that Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963) evokes partial tragedy, one could dually aver that the film epitomizes a classical, “bathos” model; everything within the work, even the dramatic elements, registers as comedic. In similar vain to The Satyricon, Fellini’s 8 ½ incorporates a myriad of visual contrasts (dichromatic design elements, art-house editing style and varied acting techniques) to comically externalize his own past relationships with women as well as his revolutionary relationship with the practice of film.

The establishing dream sequence (shots 1-18) defines the tone of the entire film, “The Fellinian method is parodic and caricatural, the exaggeration of the same, reflections in a distorting mirror of fun fair” (Rohdie 60). Fellini coalesces crisis and comedy (even fantasy and reality) in order to clearly demonstrate Guido’s perpetual reverie: the entertainment industry. The dream state acts as a foreshadowing technique in which the audience assumes Guido’s fate, alluding to original traditions within the Grecian bathetic theater. The phantasmal nature of the sequence detracts from the verisimilitude of the project. Guido’s dramatized gestures and the opposing understatement of passersby juxtapose perfectly within the scene, creating irony and, thus, humor. The overtly contrasted color of the sequence reflects a clear delineation between: the turmoil of Guido’s life (pressure from the critics, his patro...

... middle of paper ...

...nto: University of Toronto, 1995.

Horak, Paul. "Actress Draws on Fellini for Production." The Chronicle [Duke University Press] 17 Sept. 2009, Arts sec. Print.

Rohdie, Sam. Fellini Lexicon. London: British Film Institute, 2002. Print.

Singer, Irving. Mythmaking in Kubrick and Fellini. Cinematic Mythmaking : Philosophy in Film. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2008. Print.

Stubbs, John C. Federico Fellini as Auteur: Seven Aspects of His Films. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 2006. Print.

Van Order, M. Thomas. Listening to Fellini: Music and Meaning in Black and White. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2009. Print. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press Ser. in Italian Studies.

Wilinsky, Barbara. "'A Thinly Disguised Art Veneer Covering a Filthy Sex Picture': Discourses on Art Houses in the 1950s." Indiana University Press 8.2 (1996): 143-58. Print.

Open Document