“Nine” does Fellini proud

An Italian director revisits the female muses of his past

| Jan 10, 2010

Kate Hudson (center) in dance number from Nine

Nine is the film production of the 1982 award-winning Broadway musical, which in turn was based on Federico Fellini’s 1963 award-winning film 8-1/2.

Expect this film to win many awards, as well, and it is great entertainment, even for those who don’t care for musicals.

hotshots-logoThe story is about how a famous Italian film director is all set to begin his next film, but he has no idea what the film is going to consist of, and all he has is the title, Italia.

The title of Fellini’s 1963 film, which was autobiographical, reflected that he had made 8-1/2 films, the “half” representing the one that he had co-directed. The title of the Broadway musical and this film means that the director is trying to make his ninth film, but is blocked creatively, and his personal life and professional responsibilities come crashing down and have put him into a suicidal depression.

In other words, it is a musical comedy full of beautiful women, elaborate musical numbers and songs, and gorgeous sets and locations.

Daniel Day-Lewis plays the director, Guido Contini, and the women in his life, each with a musical number, are Marion Cotillard as his wife, Penelope Cruz as his mistress, Nicole Kidman as his film star and muse, Judi Dench as his confidant and costume designer, Kate Hudson as a fashion journalist, Sophia Loren as his mother, and Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas as a prostitute from Guido’s youth.

The story mixes reality, fantasy, and memories seamlessly as we follow Guido’s impossibly difficult efforts to begin — much less make — his ninth film.

In fact, at the beginning of the story, Guido ducks out of a press conference about his next film, telling his costume designer, “I can’t face these reporters. I have nothing to say.”

You see, Guido’s last two films were flops, and he is terrified that his next one will also fail, the nightmare of all creative artists who have achieved success.

Guido escapes from Rome to a hotel at a spa, but he is recognized everywhere he goes, and his producer finds him and shows up with a film crew ready to begin work.

In addition, Guido has called on the women in his life to also come there to help him.

Nine does Fellini proud, and I give it an “11.”

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”