Why "8½"? With six solo films behind him and three collaborations (counting as a half each), this film was Fellini's 8½ movie. It is also perhaps his most introverted and self-referential. Despite its insular nature, it got under the skin of many and went on to win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar of 1963.
Marcello Mastroianni stars as a film director on the brink of making his next big movie, and possibly his first nervous breakdown. We join him at a health farm where mud baths, holy water, and bathing in springs have been recommended for his possible salvation. Along for the ride is the mistress who he's already bored with, and a whole array of memories that play before us in a slideshow interrupted by visitors desperate for guidance on his forthcoming film.