(Otto e mezzo)
Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale, Sandra Milo,
For many, Marcello Mastroianni defined Italian masculinity, or at least the debonair version of it, and in this Federico Fellini masterpiece, he gives perhaps his most dashing performance, at once intellectualized and sexualized. A traffic jam nightmare, a literal flight of fancy, nuns and whores and more: 8 1/2 follows the dreams and visions of a jaded director (Mastroianni) as he bemusedly attempts his next great film, which may or may not take precedence over his own sexual desires. Claudia Cardinale fittingly costars as the filmmaker’s dream (of cinema, of women) come to life, unmatched, untamed. “Of course I came on to her,” an unabashed Mastroianni shared later, “but she would just start laughing.”
Recalling her collaboration with Fellini, and with Mastroianni in his imaginatively disguised role as Fellini’s surrogate—a filmmaker confronting his own mortality after a lifetime of women and art—Cardinale observed that “Fellini told me I was his muse, that I gave him inspiration. What I say in the movie, it’s all improvisation. And it was Federico who was talking to me in those scenes. Marcello was sitting next to him, repeating what he said.”
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Un Cardinale Donna
(A Woman Cardinal)
Manuel Maria Perrone, Italy, 2023
Produced on the occasion of Cinecittà’s Claudia Cardinale retrospective, this short film celebrates the legendary actress by interweaving images past and present.