He presents himself as the bored disinterested auteur.
All artists are in their hearts, fools.
He takes his movies, all of which are internalized affairs and characterizes them as glitzy affairs, trimmed. This a defense mechanism? To deny how close he became through his work to his adoring international audience? He is saying, no, no, as a producer, as a seller of films, this then, this latest work is the closest to me!
The intelligent man, that Frederico, collects hearts, the icons of those women he has loved before, from the first, the dreambeast of the shore to the latest, and not the wife, for that relationship is more externalized and worldly. She follows him as he pursues his own mad journey. He goes to the spa, an intended rejuvenation that is more a social affair, blunting any healing effects within its own silly trappings, the lines of people standing in the dust for a cool draught.
As an auteur, he worships beauty, naming his muse for the world, not his charming actress wife, but the nymphet Claudia Cardinale. These days we just look at them on computer screens, but here the rich artist rides with her in a car talking of life, and out of that lovely face comes words that transfix him.
A lot of small talk here, for a movie called eight and a half. Quiet, seemingly inconsequential moments, as the artist's feelings roll about within him. At some point I would have liked to hear Mastroanni scream, experience catharsis, but there was always a dulled edge, just like the ineffective trip to the spa, lacking a release.
Maybe also, sometime soon I will watch the movie again using another thought, that of human gestation.... oooh... Eight and a half film, Eight and a half months.... hmm.