Archive for October 7th, 2008

Just after his election as U.S President in 1912,he visited an aunt who was almost deaf. She asked how he was employed now and he bellowed into her ear trumpet that he was now the President of the USA.
“Of what?”
“Of the USA,” Wilson shouted back.
The old lady snorted, ”Don’t be silly.”
While governor of New Jersey, he was informed that one of the senators from that state had died. Shortly thereafter he received a call from a New Jersey politician who said,” Governor, I’d like to take the senator’s place.”
“That is perfectly agreeable to me,” said Wilson, ”if it’s agreeable to the undertaker.”

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Energy is neither created nor destroyed. Recalling Einstein’s famous formula a small mass of matter when converted releases tremendous amount of energy. All that energy mankind has ever possessed or shall, owe to what was released at the time of the Big Bang.
Evolution in a manner of speaking is a transaction of so many species with energy as  bills of exchange.
Like the gold standard to which currency of nations are tied, species competes one another to get the best deal.
Naturalists reckon land animals under the existing conditions, could hold a weight of 100 tons but no animal has come anywhere near that mark. ‘Small is beautiful’ is the message the size of animals seems to indicate. Trimmer they are, less energy they shall need to expend we might say.
Since every life form utilizes energy one might say mankind is connected or bonded to serve one another. Each of us is a consumer and how much we spent or gained are matters that shall be resolved when Reconciliation of Energy takes place. Here is one proof of our footprint that is set in Time and Space. Like the footprints of dinosaurs who are extinct, still arouse intense interest among the fossil hunters and scientists alike.

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8½ ( written Otto e mezzo in Italian) is a 1963 film written and directed by Italian director Federico Fellini.
8½ is highly autobiographical: Fellini would have preferred to externalize creative processes that underpin his professional life by making the central character a writer. According to screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, in the original script, Guido was a writer who could not finish his novel. Since Mastrionni had just finished La notte, for Antonioni, Fellini changed the character into a movie director.( He seems to have joked, “How am I going to ask Marcello to play a writer again? He’ll end up believing he’s one and he’ll write a novel.”) The character of Guido carries much of the state of mind of a film director whose creative flow has temporarily hit a hiatus. Many critics consider it the best movie about making movies.
It came number three on the 2002 Sight & Sound Director’s Poll (beaten only by Citizen Kane and The Godfather Parts 1 and 2.) The film was shot in black-and-white by influential and innovative cinematographer Gianni di Venanzo, and features a soundtrack by Nino Rota.

The working title for 8½ was La bella confusione (The Beautiful Confusion). 81/2 refers to the number of films he had done up to date. Besides six full length features he had part in two short segments and colloboration with another director that in his eyes made only two and a half films. The feature films are given below.
Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik)- 1952, I vitelloni (Vitelloni) in 1953, La strada (The Road) in 1954, Il bidone (The Swindle) in 1955, Le notti di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria) in 1957, and La dolce vita (The Sweet Life) in 1960.

His two short segments included: the segment “Un Agenzia Matrimoniale” (“Marriage Agency”) in the 1953 film L’amore in città (Love in the City) and the segment “Le Tentazioni del Dottor Antonio” from the 1962 film Boccaccio ’70. His collaboration, with Alberto Lattuada, was Luci del varietà (Variety Lights) in 1950.

“A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it into pieces and makes it again,” The quote is from Jean Renoir and it may well apply in the case of the central character of this film. Guido Anselmi as a director has a vision unique to himself as much as it is part of his life experience; while directing a film it must also compete with the every day details of  the man, the production schedule, budget – and his personal problems with his wife and his mistress are all part of the equation. With such myriad facets attendant on his creative control over the film at any given point of time, how does he derive personal satisfaction? When does  happiness come in for an artist who is also a human being ? Fellini offers no solutions but the film is valid for any creative artist. This is the crux of this movie.

Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) acts as a film director who hasn’t come to grips with a film material on hand. To him it is an ill-defined film that is on surface science fiction but also it could be autobiographical.  His artistic difficulties are confounded by his own marital problems. He is as a result suffering from “director’s block.” As with many temperamental artists he lets his work adrift, retreats into his messy private life and goes to a nightclub clairvoyant who makes him recall his childhood. He fantazises and the imagery of his interior world are clues to man’s sex drive and for his thirst for power. He has fantasies about keeping a harem of women at bay with a whip, or about being hounded to death by desperate producers and a hostile press. Fellini resorts to a technique that has now come to be known as ‘Felleniesque’ where narrative logic is somewhat twisted pretzel-like where reality coalesces into dreams, surrealistic touches of memory and there is no telling where his private world ends and reality takes hold. An artist be it a fashion designer or a film director lives in parallel worlds and he bridges them alike. In Guido, Fellini presents, his alter ego a psychological portrait that must explain in part very familiar to him. His directorial chair must have substituted the couch in a shrink’s office. Guido never makes his film while Fellini could finish his and move on to other projects, perhaps all the more stronger for his self analytical work.
Produced by     Angelo Rizzoli
Written by     Ennio Flaiano
Tullio Pinelli
Federico Fellini
Brunello Rondi
* Marcello Mastroianni as Guido Anselmi
* Claudia Cardinale as Claudia
* Anouk Aimée as Luisa Anselmi
* Sandra Milo as Carla
* Rossella Falk as Rossella
* Barbara Steele as Gloria Morin
* Madeleine LeBeau as Madeleine
* Caterina Boratto as La signora misteriosa
* Eddra Gale as La Saraghina
* Guido Alberti as Pace
* Mario Conocchia as Conocchia
Bruno Agostini as Il segretario di produzione
* Cesarino Miceli Picardi as Cesarino
* Jean Rougeul as Carini
* Mario Pisu as Mario Mezzabotta
Music by     Nino Rota
Cinematography     Gianni Di Venanzo
Editing by     Leo Cattozzo
Release date(s)     February 14, 1963
Running time     138 minutes
As with most Italian films of this period the sound was entirely dubbed in afterwards; following a technique dear to Fellini many lines of the dialogue were written only during post-production, while the actors on the set mouthed random lines. This film marks the first time actress Claudia Cardinale was allowed to dub her own dialogue — previously her voice was thought to be too throaty and, coupled with her Tunisian accent, was considered undesirable.
Technical details

8½ was filmed in the spherical cinematographic process, using 35-millimeter film, and was exhibited with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.


In Retro
Four years after completing 8½, life imitated art. Fellini’s producer, Dino De Laurentiis, had invested in an expensive replica of Cologne Cathedral and other huge sets that had been built in Cinecittà for Fellini’s film Il viaggio di G. Mastorna. Fellini then informed De Laurentiis that he would not finish the film. De Laurentiis was furious, much like the producer in 8½.

Similar Movies
Alex in Wonderland  (1970, Paul Mazursky)
Stardust Memories  (1980, Woody Allen)
All That Jazz  (1979, Bob Fosse)
First Name: Carmen  (1983, Jean-Luc Godard)
Intervista  (1987, Federico Fellini)
Der Stand der Dinge  (1982, Wim Wenders)
I Dreamt I Woke Up  (1991, John Boorman)
Projection Privee  (1973, Francois Leterrier)
Adaptation  (2002, Spike Jonze)
Irma Vep  (1996, Olivier Assayas)
Movies with the Same Personnel
La Dolce Vita  (1960, Federico Fellini)
Juliet of the Spirits  (1965, Federico Fellini)
Intervista  (1987, Federico Fellini)
Fellini’s Roma  (1972, Federico Fellini)
Ginger and Fred  (1986, Federico Fellini)
City of Women  (1980, Federico Fellini)
Nights of Cabiria  (1957, Federico Fellini)
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow  (1963, Vittorio De Sica)
Other Related Movies
is featured in:      Fellini: I’m a Born Liar  (2003, Damian Pettigrew)
My Voyage to Italy  (2001, Martin Scorsese)
8 1/2 Women  (1999, Peter Greenaway)
is related to:      And the Ship Sails on  (1983, Federico Fellini)
Memorable Quotes:
Guido: Accept me as I am. Only then can we discover each other.
Writer: It’s better to destroy than create what’s unnecessary.
Guido: Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.
Guido: I thought my ideas were so clear. I wanted to make an honest film. No lies whatsoever. I thought I had something so simple to say. Something useful to everybody. A film that could help bury forever all those dead things we carry within ourselves. Instead, I’m the one without the courage to bury anything at all. When did I go wrong? I really have nothing to say, but I want to say it all the same.
Guido: My Dears… Happiness consists of being able to tell the truth without hurting anyone.
Guido: All the confusion of my life… has been a reflection of myself! Myself as I am, not as I’d like to be.
Guido: The truth is: I do not know… I seek… I have not yet found. Only with this in mind can I feel alive and look at you without shame.
Claudia: I don’t understand. He meets a girl that can give him a new life and he pushes her away?
Guido: Because he no longer believes in it.
Claudia: Because he doesn’t know how to love.
Guido: Because it isn’t true that a woman can change a man.
Claudia: Because he doesn’t know how to love.
Guido: And above all because I don’t feel like telling another pile of lies.
Claudia: Because he doesn’t know how to love.
Writer: You see, what stands out at a first reading is the lack of a central issue or a philosophical stance. That makes the film a chain of gratuitous episodes which may even be amusing in their ambivalent realism. You wonder, what is the director really trying to do? Make us think? Scare us? That ploy betrays a basic lack of poetic inspiration.
Pace, il produttore: Why piece together the tatters of your life – the vague memories, the faces… the people you never knew how to love?
Guido: Could you walk out on everything and start all over again? Could you choose one single thing, and be faithful to it? Could you make it the one thing that gives your life meaning… just because you believe in it? Could you do that?”
Claudia: I don’t know… could you?”
Guido: No, the character I’m thinking of couldn’t. He wants to possess and devour everything. He can’t pass anything up. He’s afraid he’ll miss something. He’s drained.
Claudia: That’s how the film ends?
Guido: No, that’s how it begins. Then he meets a girl at the springs. She gives him water to heal him. She’s beautiful… young, yet ancient… child, yet already a woman… authentic, complete. It’s obvious that she could be his salvation.
[Looks over at Claudia]
Guido: You’ll wear white… with long hair, just as you do now.


* Fellini attached a note to himself below the camera’s eyepiece which read, “Ricordati che è un film comico.-Remember, this is a comedy.”

* Was the basis for the Broadway Musical “Nine”, which won the Tony for best musical in 1982 and for best musical revival in 2003.

* At one point, Fellini wanted to cast Laurence Olivier in the lead role.

In 2002, named by “Positif” (France) as one of the 50 best films of the last 50 years (critics’ choice: #3)

for films check out the author at cinebuff.wordpress.com


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