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Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Criterion's 2-disc DVD is the one to get, 23 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Criterion Collection: 8 1/2 [DVD] [1963] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
There are several different issues of Fellini's 8½ available, but the quality varies wildly. As others have noted, Nouveaux's PAL disc has almost illegible subtitles and offers a poor presentation: on the other end of the scale, Criterion's remastered 2-disc NTSC edition is quite outstanding (though be careful not to confuse it with their earlier single-disc edition).

The film itself is not to all tastes, and sadly not quite to mine. For the most part 8½ left me cold, one of those films where you get what is being done but it's just not on your wavelength. It's pointless to complain about it being hit-and-miss or confused, since erratic confusion is the nature of the beast as Fellini becomes possibly the first man to film his own nervous breakdown (or at very least his crisis of creativity). In many ways the turning point in Fellini's career where fantasy and grotesquery would become an increasing part of increasingly disjointed phantasmagorias with a design style as cluttered as a tart's dressing table, there are moments that strike home and the latter scenes with his wife and with Claudia work because there's a sense of self-awareness of Fellini's limitations not just as an artist but as a human being. But overall I was just left with the feeling that I'd got on the wrong train by mistake.

(Incidentally, to strike a timely note, it's amusing to note that the producer's brainless bimbo girlfriend is the spitting image of Paris Hilton!)

It's a shame Criterion's otherwise excellent 2-disc DVD couldn't locate the deleted sequences, although they are well represented in the excellent stills galleries. Alongside the 50-minute 'Director's Notebook' documentary TV special by Fellini, the 45-minute German Nino Rota documentary is interesting and has a wonderful moment where the composer accepts a proffered cigarette only to turn down a light because he doesn't smoke!
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Trevor Willsmer
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 90