Federico Fellini’s Oscar-winning account of Guido Anselmi, an overworked movie director (Marcello Mastroianni) crossing the line between reality and fantasy.
Guido (pictured above) is spiritually paralysed by a midlife crisis and loses himself in fantasy and reminiscences as he is besieged by sycophants and collaborators while struggling to get started on an unwieldy science-fiction epic.
His introspections revolve around sexual, religious, and sociological themes in a free-form style that can be taken as cinematic poetry, self-analysis, or self-indulgence.
From the moment the protagonist floats out of a traffic jam in the opening scene, 1960s cinema was opening out, for better or worse, to a more freewheeling, self-consciously stylised approach.
The women in his life are Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Rosella Falk, Barbara Steele and Madeleine Lebeau.
Fellini’s autobiographical tour de force was film number 8½ (counting each of three shorts as half a film) in his career, hence the title.
Winner of a Best Foreign Film Oscar the movie formed the basis of a 1982 hit Broadway musical called Nine.