Describing a Fellini movie as unique and brilliant is a lot like describing ice as cold and frozen. Of course 8 _ is brilliant. It's his most self-obsessed, beautiful and stirring. A bitter sweet love letter to his past, his craft, and his women–of which there are many.
Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Barbara Steele, and Sandra Milo representing ideal women. Wife, angel of purity, crazy youth, and mistress radiate beauty in crisp glorious black and white. Every scene and shot is lovely and if you can't tell by now, this is one of my most favorite movies, one that has made me marvel since I was a teenager.
Not everyone embraced this film so lovingly. The interweaving of daydreams, memories, fantasies, and reality caused outrage among Fellini's fans and film critics when it was released who found it indecipherable. It's complex and sometimes confusing but, I think, never inaccessible. Despite everything, it still went on to win the Oscar for best foreign film and is renowned as one of the greatest films about film ever made.
While there's only a thread of a plot (a film director examines his life, his past, himself only to find he may have nothing to say), it isn't the plot that mesmerizes, it's something less tangible. Scenes like the dancing of Saraghina on the beach; the fantasy bath house with whips; and the joyous circus-like parade that ends the film wash over you and, whether you hate it or love it, you can't forget this evocative and surreal masterpiece.