Amarcord Screen 13 articles



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  • In most of the gag sequences of Amarcord, Fellini apparently prefers spoon-feeding an audience to collaborating with them. The more luminous sequences of the film are, on the contrary, the ones where he can organize an interplay of elements around looser narrative structures, leading to a freer and less mechanical exposition.

  • Disenchantment is front and center in “Amarcord,’’ where both everything the fascists touch and everyone who wants to touch the fascists are made corrosively hideous. The result is a grand, passionate mess. The sense of decay almost disintegrates the art.

  • For a long time Fellini's appeal to the eye has far surpassed his appeal to the mind and heart. It follows that "Amarcord" is stronger in its compositions than in its connections, and more coherent in its images than in its ideas. The familiar adolescent conflicts between libidinous longing and religious repression are re-enacted with more gusto than ever.

  • A lazy but far from empty piece of fanciful recollection from Federico Fellini about his hometown (1974)—uneven, loosely structured, and at times pretty vulgar as well as sentimental, but with some touching and lovely episodes, most memorably the village's look at an ocean liner and a wedding party.

  • Fellini offers Amarcord not just as a political explanation for a dark period in Italy’s national life, but as an important clue to the understanding of Italian national character as well. Though the film denounces the state of perpetual adolescence and illustrates Fellini’s belief that refusal of individual responsibility characterizes Italian society, it never degenerates into dogmatic treatise. Instead, Amarcord performs a certain magic that only a master of the cinema could accomplish.

  • While at certain moments Amarcord feels cheap—Titta’s family’s dinner table dysfunction does nothing new with the cliché of hysterical Italian home life; Gradisca’s pathetic posing for a prince she attempts to seduce is one of the rare cruelly mocking scenes in all of Fellini’s work—there are far more that rank among the finest examples of Fellini’s ability to evoke wonder and melancholy without resorting to sentimentality.

  • All of Fellini's visual trademarks are here, including the half-finished scaffold that mediates between heaven and earth, the grotesque faces of the extras, the parades and processions, and always the Nino Rota music..." Somewhere amidst all the nostalgic excess are memories of the rise of Italian Fascism and some more bittersweet episodes about death. But even in these moments, Fellini recognizes the spectacular human comedy present in all communal affairs.

  • There is a sense of rebellion and vigour in Amarcord. For example, Titta escapes from class during the monotonous ruminations of his history teacher, conceals during “confession” the sinful acts of masturbation he indulges in with his friends, and urinates on the hat of a sinister church official. Behind this mockery of “institutionalised” life the director reveals a world of imagination – which is entirely his own.

  • The beauty of film rests in the fragility of its images, a fragility often denied by narrative structures so tightly bound that images become firmly fixed in place. It is exactly in that place that Fellini’s films open up, and in doing so make images precious, alive, and transitory. The essential subject of Fellini’s films, and particularly of the late ones, like Amarcord, is the cinema itself, another world: ephemeral, touching, ineffable, comic, and grand . . . like a pheasant in the snow.

  • Amarcord is chalk full of gaps and inconsistencies, fluctuating tones, and perspectives challenging the very foundations of coherent storytelling. Watching Amarcord again, it's clear for me the film's main virtues reside in how it changes with the viewer's point of view, tapping into an unconscious desire to retain nostalgia no matter how futile the process may be.

  • Amarcord is what things look like when you “look back”. (Or, it’s what things look like when Federico Fellini looks back, and we all would be so lucky if memory was as joyful as this.) The connecting threads are only in the fact that such episodes make up a life, and not only that, but make up Art. Fellini is an artist, and here he says, “This is what it was like for me as a kid. Here is how I remember it.”

  • A colorful memory play that was part of what that guy in “Annie Hall” would call Fellini’s “indulgent” phase, is a film that seems wiser, funnier, more raucous and improper year after year. The restoration by the Cineteca di Bologna looked gorgeous on a properly huge screen in the Festival’s most capacious theater, the 1,400-seat Sala Darsena.

  • Ranking for certain as one of Fellini’s most successful, celebrated and narratively meandering masterpieces, Amarcord will tease you on all emotional fronts by way of a raucous, dreamy, boisterous, at times touching and politically reflective depiction of fascist-era life in a small Italian town.

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