When I first saw 8 1/2 five years ago, I admired it without quite understanding it. The other day, after reading many terrible reviews of Nine, the movie based on the musical based on the movie, I watched 8 1/2 again.
Bang! Every scene affected me on an emotional/visceral level. I think I actually get it.
So I have learned something in the last five years. What it is exactly, I have no idea.
Marcello Mastroianni was one of the first actors I ever saw on the big screen. My mother snuck me into a movie theatre to see Vittorio De Sica’s Sunflower—she used up a whole box of tissues, she cried so hard, especially when Sophia Loren walked across Russia looking for her lost Marcello. I remember the first scene in which Sophia and Marcello are snogging on the beach and he swallows her earring. (Hmm, this movie may account for three of my fixations: Russia, Italy, and earrings. If anyone’s seen Sunflower lately, please confirm my memory.)
I liked Sunflower a lot better than Love Story, which my mother also took me to see (The ushers did not dare argue with her). That one also took up a whole box of tissues, but I was less impressed since no one trudged across Siberia.
I wonder if my childhood associations with the cinema account for the fact that I hardly every cry in real life, but have no problem with weeping buckets at the movies.