The Explorations Of Structure Essay

1642 words - 7 pages

Since the inception of the motion picture, business has served as the primary influence on the entertainment industry. Although film allows for freedom and experimentation within storytelling techniques, the classical Hollywood cinema style emerged as the front runner of cinema; it told a story, it made money, and it entertained. However, this became stagnant and formulaic, artists not only wanted to entertain, but to provoke and inspire viewers. This mindset is what inspired cinematic innovation within the post-war period— art movements such as the French New Wave and Italian neo-realism emerged. Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard rejected the traditional conventions of cinematography, editing and structure and chose to create their own. Rooted in the Italian Neo-Realism movement in the fifties, Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini rejected the idea of realist films and sought to explore the unknown and fantastical. In 1963, Fellini created 8½, a film about a filmmaker plagued by the decisions of his own creativity. Utilizing contrasted mise-en-scene and the juxtaposition of reality and fantastical sequences, 8½ effectively captures the spirit of artists as they pursue new projects but are pressured by their creative expectations. As the film’s non-linear structure evolves, Federico Fellini illustrates every part of main character Guido Anselmi’s personal life, whether it is the love that inspires him or the pleasures that haunt him; visualizing all sources of creativity necessary to create.
8½ was a very personal project for Fellini. This film wasn’t created to advocate for social or political change, but instead to depict Fellini’s own struggles with filmmaking. In the film, Guido Anselmi is a film director struggling from director’s block, unable to grow passionate about his current project and unaware of what film he should direct next. Fellini crafts Guido’s character as a version of himself. Just as 8½ is a film about the struggles of creativity, it is a film about the making of 8½ itself. Following the success of his film La Dolce Vita in 1960, Fellini was struggling with ideas as he was hounded by studio executives and producers to develop his next feature. Just as 8½ is self-reflexive with its character, the title references nothing within the plot but instead the amount of films that Fellini directed leading up to 8½. The title itself encapsulates the film— it’s incomplete, similar to Guido’s film, but also creates ambiguity and curiosity, leaving viewers pondering the true purpose.
The first scene of 8½ captures the structure of the rest of the film. As Guido sits in his car during a traffic jam, smoke begins to fill the car and he is unable to get out as his friends and co-workers stare at him from surrounding cars. All of a sudden, he is floating above the car and flying out to sky— only to find himself tethered like a kite, with his manic producer demanding that he return to the ground. This scene is not only an incredible hook to...

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