Anyone who has ever had experience as a Director, from short films to plays and beyond, can relate to protagonist Guido's plight.
Experiencing a not-often talked about issue, "Director's Block," famous director Guido Anselmi struggles to finish his new science fiction film. The story felt autobiographical, and I would not be surprised if Frederico Fellini was experiencing and voicing his own "Director's Block" at the time of this production.
My favorite parts of this film were Guido's dreams...which may in fact have been Fellini's own dreams or memories. His flashbacks are vivid, candid and extremely intriguing. While somewhat confusing, as most dreams are, you do get a sense of a man conflicted between sentiment, values, truth, memory and reality. The stories that Guido wants to tell mirror or relate to his childhood, but he is surrounded by an entourage of friends and colleagues who try to convince him that an audience would not care to or be able to follow such personal tales.
As a writer, I have long believed that the very best stories that one can tell are those that are truthful, personal, and real. I certainly empathized with Guido as he struggled between trying to tell an entertaining story, and live up to his fame, or to give others a glimpse into his very personal childhood experiences.
Another compliment to the film is the precise beauty of it. As a fan of mid-century, modern design, I absolutely loved the sleek lines of each set, and perfectly coordinating contrasting colors. Each shot was also meticulous, and made this film feel more like a piece of art that must be preserved than a mere rental from Netflix.
I love to tell human stories, and to me, 8 1/2 is just that....an autobiographical, real, human story. Though there isn't a tremendous battle, a car chase, or a huge climax, this film proves that sometimes our inner battles are extremely interesting, worth sharing, and can take the audience on an amazing journey of their own.