During a film festival retrospective of his work, renowned director Sandy Bates is haunted by memories from his past, which served at major inspiration for his movies, while amid a circus of fans. Inspired in part by Federico Fellini’s 8½.
"I know people think that I'm egotistical and narcissistic, but it's not true. I, as a matter of fact, if I did identify with a Greek mythological character, it would not be Narcissus." "Who would it be?" "Zeus."
9 1/2? Somewhat more curdled than his contemporary output, but all the better for it, with a pleasingly bitter take on celebrity, which occasionally strays a little too far into navel gazing but otherwise strikes a suitably dour coffee-table vibe (and is superior to the later Celebrity). Willis' strikingly composed cinematography and continuation of spatially-detached Manhattan compositions helps considerably.
Why so bitter, Woody? Some of us liked Interiors! This is straight-up anti-Semitism-the mockery is too acrid & fearful to pass for good-natured humor. He's a self-loathing Jew & he loathes himself for being one-that kind of involution is perfectly suitable for an 8&1/2 rip-off. Even more than Fellini he's the unwitting victim of his own satire-so insecure that he attacks the potential of subtext & audience freedom.