Tuesday 17 April 2018 11.58pm
‘I Remember’ 2018
I invited my oldest friend, James, over to watch his favourite Fellini film. I’d mistakenly thought he was a Fellini fan (because I knew he was a Nino Rota fan) but he corrected that misconception by telling me that he neither loved or hated Fellini films, but felt indifferent to them. The exception was Amarcord which he remembers liking. So, I went three-years back in time from Fellini’s Casanova to another Fellini film which looks at a boy growing up in a small coastal town in Italy, a similar setting to I vitelloni (1953). The difference is that it explores the life – of Fellini, I presume – of a boy younger than the young men in I vitelloni. It takes us further inside his school and his family and the people that populate the town he grows up in.
It feels far more hit and miss than I vitelloni which was in essence a far more serious film. Amarcord is a comic observation of Titta’s (Fellini, we assume) life and the things that he liked and disliked about growing up. There’s an array of characters that are quickly but clearly drawn. There are no other deep characterisations because it’s all about Titta and how Titta sees the world. The camera is not particularly positioned to make it look like it’s describing how he views life, but as he’s the only fully developed character, and the other characters are sketches or caricatures, it stands to reason that what Amarcord gives us is Titta’s perspective.
There are some wonderful moments and some moments where the shouting in the family squabbles could have been more restraiend. It probably was allowed to go over the top because Fellini is into the overblow, larger-than-life, period of his filmmaking which was preceded by his epic films.