Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:17 pm
Re: 82 Amarcord
This is the fourth Fellini film I have seen, the first being 8 1/2, La Strada, and La Dolce Vita. There are a few major differences between Amarcord and Fellini's earlier works. During the 1960s, his film style was at the forefront of Italian neo-realism (and later post neo-realism). His films are overwhelmingly cynical at times. They draw you in with lighthearted, fleeting, superficial character interactions and then rip your heart out. While the cynicism remains in Amarcord, this is by far lighter fare. This film is also in color, where his previous works had been black and white (at least the ones I have mentioned). If you're looking for a starting place with Fellini, I suggest you start here.
Amarcord is loosely based on the town that Fellini grew up in (Rimini) during the 1930s with Fascism at its height. "Amarcord" itself translates to "I remember". While this is more of an ensemble film, there is a core group of characters that makes up Fellini's family. We are introduced to the town and its characters by a narrator who is himself a town inhabitant and who regularly breaks the fourth wall. We see the town cycle through the seasons. We see young love, marriage, and death.
Fellini's presentation of the material is what makes the film work as a whole. We get the sense that because it is based on his life, we are being given the privilege to see what his childhood was like. He doesn't try to show us a specific event. Amarcord is about recreating the atmosphere of memory. As such, the historical accuracy is not really considered. I didn't even realize that it was supposed to be the 1930s until the rally for fascism.
Rarely do we see the use of a closeup. The emphasis is always placed on groups of people interacting fluidly. It is as if we are in this town, watching events unfold before us. The camera is always at eye level. Fellini uses it to capture the raw emotion of situations. You get to feel what dinner at his house was like, what going to school was like, what dealing with priests was like, and so on.
Thematically, Amarcord only differs from Fellini's other works in its youthfulness. Otherwise, the themes he usually uses are all here. His distrust of the church and his treatment of the Italian attitude are both here. But we get the sense that they are not the focus, as was true in his earlier films. In La Dolce Vita, for instance, if you didn't understand the themes and the meaning behind his scenes, then nothing would make sense.
Overall, it was nice to find a Fellini film that I could get into and just enjoy. It doesn't ask much from you. Amarcord is Fellini telling us, "This is why." I would recommend revisiting some of his earlier works after seeing this.