The Fast Forward Revue

Cinema: Fellini’s 8½ by E. Sempé
July 1, 2008, 2:02 am
Filed under: Author: E. Sempé, Cinema | Tags: , , ,

Presenting: Otto e mezzo, a fantastic film by the frenetically fiendish Frederico Fellini.

The following clip constitutes one of the many flashbacks of the Fellini masterpiece. In this scene, we witness a marking moment from the childhood of main character Guido (played by Marcello Mastroianni), in which he and his friends visit a prostitute, named La Saraghina. This large and decidedly bizarre woman lives in a shack on the beach, where she gives herself to the sailors and fishermen. It is a strangely comical scene which escalates into a disturbed frenzy, in which the group of young Catholic school boys decide to explore the realm of sexuality which is forbidden to them, by paying the local whore a coin and a visit.

Otto e mezzo is largely based on Fellini’s life, and his own struggles in the process of film-making. He even commented once that ’I am Guido.’ In fact, the Saraghina rhumba scene is based on Fellini’s own childhood experiences: la Saraghina was actually a local prostitute in Fellini’s village, who serviced the fishermen in return for sardines, hence the nickname ‘Saraghina.’

The actress in the role of la Saraghina is Edra Gale, a young Czech-American opera singer at the time when Fellini found her on the streets of Milan, and convinced her to try out for the role. The way she moves in this scene is incredible. You cannot keep your eyes away from her, and watching her, you can already smell the sea salt in the air.

So without further or due: La Saraghina

& For those of you in the Toronto area, Otto e Mezzo will be playing at 7:00 on Wednesday, July 2, 2008 for one of this season’s Cinematheque Ontario screenings at the AGO’s Jackman Hall. Tickets can be bought at the Manulife Centre. For more information, visit the Cinematheque website.


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