Federico Fellini’s Otto e Mezzo / , Italy 1963.


I am afraid if you’ve just noticed this then you missed seeing this great film – it was screened on Thursday June 4th. There was a fairly good audience, 70 or more I reckoned. And they were clearly divided about the film. A couple passed me as the end credits rolled by – he hated it, she thought it was great. In the foyer a group of four were debating the merits or demerits of the film. Outside there were trios and pairs, one couple considering their responses. I was surprised so many people were seeing the film for the first time: I have had the pleasure of being familiar with the film for years. But it is reassuring that a film can stimulate so much intense discussion.

The HPPH Brochure notes that the film was selected in the Top Ten in the 2012 S&S Critics Poll: at number 10. Mote notably, it was number 4 in the parallel Director’s Poll and Federico Fellini was top director.

The film has so many virtues, fine cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo; a great score by Nino Rota; and superb editing by Leo Catozzo. And the cast! – at times it felt as if Fellini was throwing a party for all the wonderful actors who had graced his films. This screening was sourced from a DCP. I thought the transfer was good, but the digital version did not do full justice to sparkling contrast tween black and white, especially in the long shots. But the sound was great.

And despair not. I last saw this film two or three years ago – so it will come round again. And it is worth waiting to see it ‘real’, on the big screen.


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