Capturing the film’s lead Marcello Mastroianni, and rendered in sepia, though “8½,” was shot in black and white, the poster celebrates via Mastroianni and Fellini “a cinema that is free and open to the world, acknowledging once again the artistic importance of Italian and European cinema through one of its most stellar figures,” the Cannes Festival said in a statement Tuesday.
The festival added: “In his films, Marcello Mastroianni continued to encapsulate everything that was most innovative, nonconformist and poetic about cinema.”
Using an image from “8½,” Cannes also pays tribute to a film that screened in 1963’s official selection but was unable to compete for a prize given its subsequent, but confirmed, selection in competition at the Moscow Festival.
Just what the image really signifies is another matter.
“The way he looks at us above his black glasses draws us right in to a promise of global cinematographic happiness,” explained the poster’s designer. “The happiness of experiencing the Festival de Cannes together.”
That is one interpretation.
On seeing the poster for the first time Chiara Mastroianni, the actor’s daughter, said simply: “I am very proud and touched that Cannes has chosen to pay tribute to my father with this poster. I find it very beautiful and modern, with a sweet irony and a classy sense of detachment. It’s really him through and through!”
Ever debonair, Mastroianni has let his heavy-rimmed shades – a mixture of intellectual and Latino cool – slip down his nose. The best explanation is that this reveals his beautiful eyes. It also sets up the facade/reality of his character that Fellini, in an act of simpatico self-derision, exploited to the full, revealing Mastroianni character, a film director with creative block, to be a loiterer. Filming “8½,” Fellini attached a note to his camera that said: “Remember that this is a comedy.” The fact that Mastroianni’s shirt collar intersects with his hand, giving at first glance the impression he is two-fingering the camera, may – or may not – be part of this comic spirit.