Otto e mezzo

I felt the autumn chill in the air for the first time yesterday. I spoke with my students and returned home to find I didn’t have much food left. I watched Fellini’s “8 ½” on Blu-ray. I looked better in this edition, a Criterion Collection disc, than I ever remembered it from the past. I find the movie exhausting. I took note of the shots of people sweating. A lot of the character address the camera directly. I liked how the film starts off with silence in the traffic jam. I liked how the camera moves along. It feels like Fellini was a real master of the medium at this point in his career. There were things that we would see in later Fellini films, like the woman taking care of the child, and the heavy prostitute that the kids were curious about. On the disc, some of the shots are clear enough that you get a sense of depth, like in a Magic Eye book. I saw it in a shot of trees early on at the springs. I think that when you watch this movie along with “Stardust Memories,” you get a better sense of both films. I tend to like concise statements, and so I find it hard to believe that someone would need two hours and twenty minutes to say something. I notice that sometimes on these Blu-ray, the background looks like it’s flashing. I wonder if I need a new disc player. It’s interesting how Fellini uses the Rossini and Wagner music, and how it contrasts with Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” and Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” The scene with the whip was quite funny. I don’t recall Marcello Mastroianni giving a better performance in any other movie. I did like seeing him in “La Dolce Vita” and “Big Deal on Madonna Street.” I watched the entire movie again mostly to see the final sequence. Some film critics of 1963 didn’t like the movie, even though it’s gone on to be considered a classic. I enjoy watching it, but I don’t know if it really merits a top ten ranking of all time. What is always distracted in these foreign films is the dubbing of dialogue. The disc had all sorts of special features that would take me at least a week to watch. There were documentaries about the alternate ending to the film, and about Nino Rota. Many of the movies from before the 1980s I can watch over and over again, and many since 1980 I can hardly stand to watch even once. I can’t imagine wanting to see the new Hunger Games movie more than once. I don’t know the names of very many young film directors of today. How many of them have any sort of individual signature to their work? I don’t see them as having much to say, and definitely not having much of a sense of humor. I heard the news that Johnny Mathis’ house had burned down. It seemed like an especially terrible thing to happen to someone who just turned 80 years old. I looked up the names of celebrities whose houses caught fire. Drew Barrymore, Suzanne Somers, Tom Petty, and Annette Funicello were some of the victims. I also looked up the names of celebrities who died in a fire, and saw that Linda Darnell, Butterfly McQueen, Teresa Graves, and Jack Cassidy were among the unfortunate ones. Jonny Gomes was sure loud and had a lot to say for a player who wasn’t even on the Royals’ playoff roster. Some of the people who died on November 4 include Felix Mendelssohn (1847), Gabriel Fauré (1924), Cy Young (1955), Michael Crichton (2008), Sparky Anderson (2010), and Andy Rooney (2011). Today is a birthday for Ralph Macchio (54), Markie Post (65), Loretta Swit (78), and Doris Roberts (90).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for November 4, Anne Murray reached the top of the singles chart with “You Needed Me” in 1978.  In 1984, Prince played the first date of his Purple Rain Tour at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.  In 2001, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” had its premiere in London.

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