One time Blu-ray Bob asked his Sundance-enthralled sister why she wasn’t interested in upgrading to Blu-ray for the gargantuan HDTV in her game room. Her response? “I watch David Lynch films and weird little indies, not Transformers and Ghost Rider.” Yours truly had to admit that the Blu-ray format definitely catered to fans of big summer blockbusters—at least in the beginning. That is starting to change with announcements like the one by Criterion that it will be releasing the Blu-ray of Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ on January 12.
Fellini’s 1963 autobiographical 8 ½ remains the definitive film about director’s block, won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and is considered by many to be one of the greatest films of all time. Blu-ray’s ability to replicate the inky blacks and high contrast of the surreal black-and-white film means that Criterion’s disc will be more faithful to Fellini’s original vision than any previous DVD release.
See that, sis? Blu-ray is the perfect format for Fellini’s masterpiece, a film without a single giant robot, alien or Megan Fox. In true Criterion fashion, 8 ½ comes loaded with generous extras for collectors, including the newly restored film Fellini: A Director’s Notebook, a 52-minute documentary on the lost alternative ending called The Last Sequence, a 48-minute documentary on Fellini’s longtime composer Nino Rota, and much more. The booklet included in the BD case contains writing by Fellini and essays by critics Tullio Kezich and Alexander Sesonske. If you want more classic Italian cinema than this, you'll have to have to book a ticket to Rome.