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 (Sandra 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.
Certificate: 15 Drama | Fantasy | World
Dir. Federico Fellini, Italy/France, 1963, 138 mins, subtitles
Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale