In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.
One year in a small northern Italian coastal town in the late 1930s is presented. The slightly off-kilter cast of characters are affected by time and location, the social mores dictated largely by Catholicism and the national fervor surrounding Il Duce aka Benito Mussolini and Fascism. The stories loosely center on a mid-teen named Titta and his household including his adolescent brother, his ever supportive mother who is always defending him against his father, his freeloading maternal Uncle Lallo, and his paternal grandfather who slyly has eyes and hands for the household maid. Other townsfolk include: Gradisca, the town beauty, who can probably have any man she wants, but generally has no one as most think she out of their league; Volpina, the prostitute; Giudizio, the historian; a blind accordionist; and an extremely buxom tobacconist. The several vignettes presented include: the town bonfire in celebration of spring; life at Titta's school with his classmates and teachers; ...Written by
Director Federico Fellini has denied that the movie is autobiographical, but agreed that there are similarities with his own childhood. See more »
The banners promoting the Mille Miglia indicate that it was the seventh event (VII). However, the seventh running of the event was in 1933, and Beau Geste was not released until 1939. The Mille Miglia was not held in 1939. See more »
An exclusive digital restoration of the film was done by Criterion in 1995 for their laserdisc. The disc contains a before-and-after demonstration of the restoration process and has the option of either the original Italian soundtrack or the English-dubbed soundtrack. See more »
Four seasons in Fellini's life as he remembers theirimpact
I never thought of this movie as carnivalesque, but you could argue about that. I like to think it is surrealistic in the way that your memory can distort history and all that you once dreamed of or was scared of. Those memories evolve into caricatures of persons, their behaviour and caricatures of situations. We not only see Federico's memories, but also the supposed memories of people once surrounding him.
Also this is said to be Fellini's most accessible film. Well, I was 15 when I saw it first, and it is still one of my favorites. About 10 Fellini-films later I read that this won the academy-award for best foreign picture, which I never expected, but think is quite rightly. The many surrealistic scenes stick to the mind for decades. Hilarious, tragic, oppressive (upcoming fascism: so most of it must take place just before ww2), nostalgic, poetic: there's something for everyone (and every age) to appeal to, while Fellini makes no compromises. If this was higher-paced, you wouldn't have time to appreciate the details, the photography and the music (Nino Rota). Don't look for a plot here.
The cinematography (Giuseppe Rotunno) has comparable feel with some films by Mike Nichols (Catch-22 (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), Graduate (1967)). Rotunno worked with Mike Nichols on three films: Carnal Knowledge, Regarding Henry and Wolf. And with Fellini on 9 films (e.g. City of women (1980)). I don't know if this is relevant, but Fellini is said to have had a conversation with Mike Nichols during the production of Catch-22. Otherwise I can't think of many films that are comparable with this fabulous collage of events happening apparently in spring, summer, autumn, winter and ends in spring to conclude some cycle (generation ?) accompanied by beautiful distinctive music. Why o why can't we vote 11 :(
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