Yes it is very autobiographical as was his Amarcord. Personally though I didn't find it a problem even though when I first saw the film I knew little about Fellini, and still don't really. For me the film is more about presentation. Its the way its told, not what its telling, but its a rather unique mix of fantasy and reality that many less competent directors have tried their hands at much less successfully. I still love the irony of a film about a director having no ideas for his next movie can be so overwhelimingly rich with thoughts and ideas itself. Granted this is coming from someone who thinks higher of 8 1/2 than any other foreign film.