Federico Fellini's 1963 surrealist cinema masterpiece 8 1/2 lets us know within four minutes that we are in for a profoundly unique viewing experience. The first shot of the film's main character, Guido Anselmi, is from behind as he sits at the wheel of his car in an endless traffic jam. The camera then moves with serene fluidity across the top of the car to show a bus. Passengers of the bus hang their arms from the windows lifelessly - we do not see their heads. Inside of Guido's car a gas of some sort emits from the glove box. Guido struggles to get out of the car. Passengers of the other cars watch him with silent indifference. There are no car horns, no chatter, just silence.
CUT TO: A dark room where a hand suddenly reaches up and a man YELLS! A doctor enters the room and we see Guido awaking from a nightmare. He looks haggard and exhausted. We learn that Guido is a famous Italian director retreating to a Spa for a sabbatical while he gets his frazzled mind together and attempts to prepare for his next film project. The length of his stay in unknown and his condition is obvious. He is a man in the verge of a nervous breakdown
|Marcello Mastroianni as Guido|
|Director Federico Fellini|
|Claudia Cardinale as Guido's actress Claudia|
|Guido the director|
|Michael Keaton and his "imaginary" Birdman self|