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 »
Breathtaking images, Genuine laughter and Heartbreaking poignancy
This film is a life journey. Filled with indelible images: The peacock in the middle of the snow, the awesome vision of the ocean liner--and the blind man crying out: "What's it like, what's it like?", the belly-laugh inducing introduction to each of the instructors at school, the beautiful people, the grotesques. Like life itself, the movie can be perplexing and enigmatic, sometimes magical, sometimes, in the face of the political climate and history, frightening as "simple people just trying to live get caught up in the times they were themselves creating". I don't think any film I've ever seen has so completely captured with such profound insight and simplicity the experience of losing a parent: The visit by the father and son in the hospital in which the mother realizes the awesome finality about to approach, and the son is blissfully unaware in his adolescent "immortality", and the total feeling of quiet and emptiness as the father sits at the dining room table, formerly filled with joyful, loud, noisy life--now emptier than could have ever been imagined before--this whole sequence comes as a powerful conclusion to a stunning film. With a final coda a la 8 1/2, Fellini embraces the audience, telling them not to worry--memories go on, life goes on, changed, altered forever perhaps, but it goes on, beautifully, enigmatically, magically.
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