Lighting from Fellini’s 8 1/2

Clowns, freaks, and circuses are commonly reoccurring motifs in the work of Italian director Federico Fellini. Fellini is also widely recognized for his cinematic style, especially in the way that his work deals with memory and fantasy. His semi-autobiographical film 8 1/2 (1963) culminates in a danse macabre of every character from the life of fictional director Guido Anselmi. The fictional director, who is making the film that the audience is watching, feels unresolved about his personal relationships and does not know how to properly end the film. This iconic scene is reminiscent of a traditional circus, an amusing gathering for people to take part in, and has been recreated many times in other films by Fellini and filmmakers such as Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman.

When we started talking about lighting in the amphitheater there was some discussion on how to properly light the space without the lights being obvious to the viewer. Well my idea is that as the lights go down on the quarry, why not strike lights around the feast and dance area? The movement of the actors under that lighting would look more like a festival or a circus, and highlight the performance aspect of the piece. The lights could also serve as a marker of continuity as the film transitions from the quarry to the DARC lab, where spotlights are just part of the building.

I understand this may not be the artistic direction that this film is going in, and the lights naturally denote humanity, but I would like to see how it works and anticipate the filmic possibilities.


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