8 1/2 Fellini Paper

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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A Man Trapped in a Dark World The film "8 ½" by Fellini is an amazing film that depicts a man struggling through a mid-life crisis that causes him to have hallucinations that have a very significant meaning to his distorted life. The film is about Fellini's life, but played by his alter-ego Guido. In the film, Fellini (Guido) doesn't get to make his film, but in real life he makes it. A lot of themes can be pulled from this film like creative block, inability to make decisions, feelings of suffocation, loneliness, and alienation.

The most obvious theme that can be seen in the film is feelings of suffocation and being trapped; as a result feeling alienated. There were many instances in the film where it appeared as thought Guido was trapped and suffocating inside. Examples are when he was trapped in his car, when he was tied to a string floating in the air, when he is pressured by the actors and producers, and when he had the dream of shooting himself.

His nightmare of being trapped in his car was filled with symbolism of modern alienation. It is saying that everyone is trapped in their own little lonely automobile, all of the automobiles trapped in a traffic jam. Everyone going nowhere, a man suffocating in the next car, alone in the crowd, unnoticed and uncared for. Finally the victim struggles out of the car window miraculously and floats his way out of the tunnel in which the traffic jam takes place and soars up to heaven, a free spirit.

The feelings of alienation due to the fact that no one helped Guido are justified because anyone would feel scared if they were confined into a small area with no help.

The scene where Guido is floating in the sky and suddenly a rope is flung onto his leg, and someone is pulling him down, is good example of feeling trapped. Guido, in that scene, was trying to get away from his life by just floating nonchalantly in the sky. The man pulling down on him represents the people always trying to get something from him. He can never be alone and someone is always trying to take advantage of him and making him feel alienated.

Another example of him being trapped was when the Producers and actors bombarded him and tortured his soul. He was pushed into a tiny box because everyone was in his ear asking for something from him. Those types of things makes someone just want to shout and run away from being suffocated and trapped with so many ideas and thoughts coming from so many people and the same time.

The ending of his mental suffering seem to come when he had a whole dream sequence of his failure of his movie and killing himself. This symbolized a new beginning for him because he was killing the old him that was trapped inside a world that was confusing and dark and getting rid of all the feelings that made him feel the way he was feeling.

I think Guido was the one who drove himself almost to the end point of insanity, but it was the people and his work that drove him into it in the first place. He was trapped within his own sorrow and his apathy trapped him in the dark world that he was in. His inablility to feel good about himself made him feel trapped. He thought everything he was doing was wrong and nothing made since in his life.