In cinemas 1 May 2015.

Watch the trailer for Federico Fellini’s 8½ (1963).

Newly restored and often cited (especially by other filmmakers) as one of the greatest movies ever made, Fellini’s autobiographical extravaganza blends drama, fantasy, social satire and self-critique.

Struggling with the big-budget follow-up to his recent hit, Guido Anselmi (Mastroianni) – clearly the director’s alter ego – retreats into a realm of reminiscence, anxiety and fantasy that reflects his feelings both about the film folk constantly pestering him and about the various women in his life: his wife (Aimée), his mistress (Milo) and an idealised actress (Cardinale). Gianni Di Venanzo’s striking black-and-white camerawork blends realist observation with an evocation of Guido’s inner dreamworld, Mastroianni manages to invest the self-centred protagonist with charm and a degree of dignity, and Nino Rota’s score succeeds in bringing coherence to the chaotically freewheeling circus that is Guido’s daily routine. Creative block rarely resulted in such feverish invention.

Geoff Andrew

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