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Oedipal Sructure of Fellini's Film 8 1/2

This paper is a discussion of the Oedipal structures in Federico Fellini's deeply personal film, 8 1/2. The film is ostensibly autobiographical, but Fellini's reputation for fanciful rewriting of his own history makes it more revealing as a psychological document than as a biography. Looked at from the perspective of the Sophoclean model of the Oedipus myth, the film offers some intriguing glimpses into several different kinds of triangular tragedies. Viewed from the Freudian angle, it also offers interesting examples of unconscious drives and murderous impulses. The Oedipal structures include not only the relationship among the main character and his parents but also a number of other father-mother-son relationships, especially that in which the filmmaker becomes parent to his own project. In many of these circumstances, the most challenging task is to identify the mother figure; Fellini offers many decoys, since his film is filled with female figures of almost every description. Nevertheless, the work offers a rich variety of avenues to explore in considering both the Sophoclean and the Freudian approach to the classic story of desire, conflict, and the struggle for ultimate mastery. Fellini avoids the high tragedy of the Sophoclean tale, but many elements of both approaches inform his story.

Fellini's 8 1/2 is a complex tale about a director named Guido who is about to start his next film (Marcello Mastroianni). Although Guido has filmed numerous screen tests, put an important actress on hold for a leading role, begun construction of a huge spaceship set, and assembled a massive crew, he has no script that satisfies him and is becoming less and less certain that he has any ideas worth filming. He has set up his production office in a spa town, hoping that the steam baths and mud treatments will give him inspiration. Nevertheless, despite increasing pressures from his producer, his leading lady, and his many assistants...

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Oedipal Sructure of Fellini's Film 8 1/2. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:10, April 21, 2019, from