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Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

Fellini's influential '8 1/2' at the Michigan Sunday and Tuesday, set the standard for art films

By Roger LeLievre

When you hear some artsy type describe a movie as “Felliniesque,” director Federico Fellini’s masterful “8 1/2” is probably the standard they are using for comparison.

“8 1/2,” perhaps the best art movie ever made, screens Sunday and Tuesday at the Michigan Theater as part of the Summer Classic Film Series.

Fresh off of the international success of his “La Dolce Vita,” Fellini moved into the realm of self-reflexive autobiography with what is believed to be his finest work.

Star Marcello Mastroianni delivers a terrific performance as Fellini’s alter ego Guido Anselmi, a director overwhelmed by the large-scale production he has undertaken. He finds himself harangued by producers, his wife and his mistress while he struggles to find the inspiration to finish the project.

In the words of Jonathan Crow (Rovi), “the stress plunges Guido into an interior world where fantasy and memory impinge on reality. Fellini jumbles narrative logic by freely cutting from flashbacks to dream sequences to the present until it becomes impossible to pry them apart, creating both a psychological portrait of Guido’s interior world and the surrealistic, circus-like exterior world that came to be known as ‘Felliniesque.’”

Much honored, 8 1/2” was one of the most influential and commercially successful European art movies of the 1960s, inspiring such later films as Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz” and Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories.”

If you haven’t seen 8 1/2” before, prepare yourself for a wild and fascinating ride.

“8 1/2” will screen at Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 (discounts for seniors, students and members). Advance tickets at Details at or 734-668-8397. 138 minutes. Not rated