Directed By: Federico Fellini
Starring: Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio
Tag line: "The Fantastic World of Fellini!"
Trivia: Director Federico Fellini has denied that the movie is autobiographical, but agreed that there are similarities with his own childhood
Filled with tales inspired by director Federico Fellini’s childhood in 1930’s provincial Italy, Amarcord constructs a surreal universe in which characters are caricatures, events play out at a fevered pitch, and the only words that come close to describing the atmosphere of it all are “carnival-like exuberance” Told with imagination and wit, Amarcord is a true delight.
Titta Biondi (Bruno Zanin) is a young boy growing to manhood in Fascist Italy. His father, Aurelio (Armando Brancia), can be very strict, and is harsh on Titta, but Titta's mother, Miranda (Pupella Maggio) is usually there to protect him. We follow Titta and a group of friends over the course of one full year, tagging along as they walk on the beach, frolic in the snow, and ogle Gradisca (Magali Noël), the local hairdresser, with whom Titta has fallen desperately in love.
It’s obvious these ‘memories’ from Fellini’s past, as presented in Amarcord, are more along the lines of reminiscences, where one recalls personalities and emotions much more clearly than the actual details. Titta’s deranged uncle, Pataca (Nando Orfei), climbs a tree and refuses to come down until someone finds him a woman. The teachers at Titta’s school extol the virtues of Fascism in one class, and the power of God in another. We watch as bonfires welcome in the spring season, and snow falls so heavily that it buries the entire town. Amarcord plays out like a series of related anecdotes, stories that have been told and retold through the years until embellishment has confused fact with fiction. The main ingredient of Amarcord is undoubtedly humor, but mixed with just the right amount of melancholy, and a smidgen of anarchy thrown in for good measure.
These are the kinds of yarns Federico Fellini loved to spin, and you sense the director genuinely enjoyed this little walk down memory lane. Now, thanks to Amarcord, Fellini’s childhood is recorded for posterity, with everything exactly as he remembers it
…even if it didn’t really happen that way.