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Breathtaking images, Genuine laughter and Heartbreaking poignancy
middleburg25 December 2004
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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Four seasons in Fellini's life as he remembers theirimpact
rogierr2 June 2001
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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Rimini Remembered: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring
Galina_movie_fan7 July 2005
Federico Fellini's "Amardord" is a series of sketches about his youth in a seaside town Rimini in the 1930s. In this regard it reminds another favorite film of mine, "Fellini's Roma". After repeat viewing, I can understand why many viewers may not like Fellini, especially his so called "later films" –"Amarcord" may seem too crowded, too loud, too vulgar, too bawdy, and too self-indulgent. It is all true, it is. But so is life – loud but tender, vulgar but touching, self-indulgent but full of humor, love and compassion to the film's eccentric characters. It's been said a lot about memorable scenes and images in "Amarcord": yes, the famous peacock that spreads its plumage on the snow, a magnificent ocean liner that is been greeted by the townspeople, a local tobacconist – a woman of such size and proportions that it could be simply dangerous for the teenage boys to try and make their dreams about her come true. I love "Amarcord" – always have – perhaps, Fellini played all the right notes for me or more likely, Nino Rota wrote his best musical score for the film which could be the best score ever. My favorite image in the film – Gradisca's (local beautician) walk accompanied by Rota's music. What is it in the way Italian women walk, the way their hips sway? Monica Belucci in "Malena", Sofia Lauren in "Marriage Italian Style"? And Magali Noël as object of every man's in Rimini desire – Gradisca ("Help Yourself").

Wonderful film – by the power of his magic, by the light of his memory, the great master saved the town where he was young and happy. We can visit it as often as we'd like and it won't go away and disappear - Fellini's Rimini is captured forever.

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Elaborate Nostalgia Piece
ilpositionokb22 April 2004
Federico Fellini's "Amarcord" is perhaps the flamboyant directors most entertaining and autobiographical film. His personal recollections on growing up in 1930's pre-war Italy under control of Fascism and the Church, are recorded with lively, colorful images. Fellini stylishly evokes his unique vision of provincial Rimini(Where he was born)through an adolescent viewpoint. The youthful irreverence, casual vulgarity. and tawdry exuberance of the characters flow unrestrained throughout the narrative. Fellini vividly recreates a carnival-like atmosphere filled with incident and observation. He excelled at constructing private worlds; distinct and spirited in their sense of community and place. In "Amarcord" childhood perceptions and improbable encounters are summoned via symbols, dreams, and illusions. Similar to Pirandello, the nature of truth becomes suspect. Fellini does little to dispel this notion. He once stated that 'nothing stifles the imagination more than a good memory'. Fabrication with Fellini often times blends imperceptibly with reality. "Amarcord"(The title translates as "I Remember") is structured in a series of loosely connected tales. Detailed vignettes of public school shenanigans; curious instruction; and the hyper-critical approach of the church. Cinematographer Guiseppe Rotuno favors shooting with a short lense to exaggerate the perspective. He frequently films the sizable features of the actors in extreme close-up contributing to the film's overstated visuals. Fellini was notorious for his preference of using actors with strange and unusual faces. He favored grotesqueness over craft for the most part. (The majority of the cast were selected from amateur groups all over Northern Italy. "Amarcord" is filled with memorable and eccentric characters including a blind accordianist; a foul-mouthed midget nun; a buxom tobacco store owner with a penchant for young men; a lascivious and gaseous grandfather; Volpina the town nymph; Theo the sexually-repressed, mad uncle; and an ever present dim-witted street vendor. Erratic personalities who consistently insist on indulging their illusions. The film uses an on-screen narrator who comments directly into the camera about Rimini's storied past. The pedantic commentator's articulate and austere tone is comically undercut by some off-screen antics.(Ill-timed, loud raspberries; well-tossed snowballs; general heckling, etc.) In the course of the film, an array of odd processions confront the spectator from every conceivable angle. Several of Fellini's films share this infinite movement of characters. Much of the scenario is taken up by the presentation of these large groups of comic figures as they interact around town. "Amarcord", Fellini's last commercial success, is an elaborate nostalgia piece populated with exotic individuals. Endearing misfits who seem to fit perfectly in the director's unconventional universe. One may not know where Fellini is heading half the time, but that's part of his lasting appeal. And in "Amarcord, make no mistake, Fellini is ALL over the place. KB
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The best kind of magic...
Nate-303 December 1998
This film was first recommended to me by a high school friend who typically enjoys a different kind of film than I. He counts Reservoir Dogs and Mean Streets among his favorites; I am partial to Notorious and Annie Hall. But for his sake, I watched Amarcord, and in the past years have found myself returning to it time and again. I haven't seen any other movies by Mr. Fellini, so I can judge this film only against itself. By such standards, it is a masterpiece. Never have I seen Italy portrayed as lovingly, nor the spectrum of childhood emotions - happiness, love, frustration - represented as frankly. The images are spellbinding - sunlight and fog and great dark seas. Yesterdays are perfect, it would seem, and love exists in what we can remember. So my friend got it right with this one. Amarcord is a kind of magic only the very best in cinema inspire within us. It's the magic that makes us remember.
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More intelligible and informed comment
zetes20 February 2001
I wrote the previous review having just walked to my room after viewing Amarcord. I was ecstatic, and my comments were vague. Now that I have raved, I would now like to show a few of this film's merits.

I had previously thought that Fellini as a filmmaker had died after 8 1/2. His films following that seemed utterly pretentious, as if the director had lost his touch and was trying desperately to figure out what people had liked so much about his films (the exemplary masterpieces being La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, La Dolce Vita, and 8 1/2). I thought that he had decided that it was off-the-wall flamboyancy and densely-layered symbolism that made his films great, and that he was mistaken. I still think this is true for his immediately post-8 1/2 films (Giulietta of the Spirits, Satyricon, and Roma, to be exact). Then, I have now discovered, he made a new discovery.

To be truthful, Amarcord is not much like his pre-Juliette of the Spirits films, his Golden Age. It is, in fact, a lot like the three films of his that I truly dislike, again, Juliette of the Spirits, Satyricon, and Roma. Amarcord, like those films, is quite flamboyant - the colors are orgasmic, as they were in those three bad films, the sex is exaggerated (sort of as if these films all took place in that fantasy world where Guido from 8 1/2 had his harem), and the characters are sort of typical or stereotypical.

So what is different about Amarcord? Well, I think the difference is sincerity. In fact, I would say that Fellini's major trait as a director is not flamboyancy, but sentimentalism. UH-OH! That dreaded word! To call a film "sentimental" is an insult. I do not understand this. In all his best films, Federico Fellini absolutely loves his characters. Often, you will notice that a director loathes the characters of his film, either loathes or just feels cynical and indifferent. This is the trait of such much-ballyhooed films as Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, The Matrix, Lola Rennt, etc. Fellini's characters are his children. A couple of filmmakers have restarted this trend, Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights and Magnolia fame is the best example. While I think that he is still a maturing filmmaker, he is already a great one. And even towards his most despicible characters he shows love.

Anyway, back to Amarcord, the structure of this film is exquisite. It has no real plot line, which is great. Plot is unnecessary. I would much rather experience a world than a contrived story. Fellini has realized this forever. Even his first film, Variety Lights (it was co-directed, actually) has a lack of plot. The wonderful characters just exist, and you exist along with them. Amarcord's script is revolutionary. How to describe it... Actually, I think of Roma as Fellini's failed attempt to make Amarcord. It is a tourists' guide of sorts to Rome. There, Fellini tried to make a love poem to Rome while also mixing in a decay-of-Europe theme, and it never worked. It felt awfully forced. Amarcord also has one very serious subject: the rise of Fascism in Italy. Many critics have complained about Fellini not criticizing the Fascist Party in this film, but rather treating it kindly, for the most part. In fact, all of the characters whom you fall in love with in the film, except for one man (who we identify, though incorrectly, as Fellini's own father), love and support Mussolini. Some people are absolutely outraged at this prospect, believing that Fellini is doing a great disservice to his country. This is nuts! I think we're lucky he had any of his characters criticize the Fascist party, because, truth be told, the people of the Italian countryside loved the Fascist Party until after the onset of WWII (see Vittorio de Sica's rather pretentious _Two Women_ to see this; he actually creates a very unbelievable character to oppose the Fascists in that film). The same goes for the Nazis in Germany. The fascist parties of Europe helped them out of the Great Depression (and consequently threw them into a horrible war), so it is no wonder they were beloved by their countrymen. To say different is simply revisionist history.

I don't have much more I want to say, although there is plenty left to discuss. This film is a masterpiece. And though it may be sacrilige, this is my favorite Fellini film. 10/10
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When I attended the premiere, I felt this was the best film ever made.
cinema_universe13 May 2001
When "Amarcord" had it's American premier at the Plaza Theatre on East 58th Street in New York, I was working as the manager of The Paris Theatre, also on 58th Street, just 2 blocks west, behind Bergdorf's and facing the front of the Plaza Hotel.

Both theatres were part of the Cinema-5 circuit of first-run theatres in Manhattan. I often took advantage of the pass privileges that theatres extend to one another and always attended every other theatre in the city to sample their fare.

As I often worked as 'relief' manager of The Plaza, I was well known to the the crew there and had easy access to that theatre at all times. When I first sat through "Amarcord" during it's opening, I realized that I had just seen "THE Finest Film Ever Made". When I told this to others, I was often scoffed at. I was told that the 'Finest Film' hadn't been made yet. That was until the scoffers saw the film for themselves. Every friend I brought to The Plaza to see "Amarcord" was as enchanted with the film as I was.

During it's opening run at the Plaza Theatre in 1974, I must have seen the film at least 50 times. I next saw "Amarcord" at an art house in another city in 1980. Yes, it was still the best film. In the 6 years since it's USA premier I can't say I saw any film better than "Amarcord."

Then, when it was at long last released on videotape in the 1990's, I purchased the tape. When I watched the tape I wept. Yes, it was STILL the finest film ever made. I DO think the world of "Nights of Cabiria", "La Strada", "La Dolce Vita" and "8 1/2". But "Amarcord" is more than just Fellini's greatest work. It is greater than ANY other film, made by any other person or group of persons. I know now, 27 years after I first saw this film, that I will certainly say, 27 years in the future: This is THE film that no film-maker can top.

..In my humble opinion, of course....
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Reminiscences of a Great Filmmaker
Benedict_Cumberbatch7 March 2006
"Amarcord" was the first Fellini film I saw, about two years ago. It was on TV at 4 o'clock a.m. and I was very sleepy, but I watched it till the end. I wasn't disappointed at all, and I do want to watch it again.

It's not hard to say why this is considered one of Federico Fellini's masterpieces. "Amarcord" (which means "I remember" in the Italian dialect of Emilia-Romagna, the region in which Fellini was born and where the film is set) is one of the most dazzling, personal films you'll ever see. Though Fellini denied that the film is autobiographical (but agreed that has similarities with his own childhood), he made some of the most magic scenes in film history. Nino Rota's unforgettable music score is perfect to highlight the story of a teenage boy's daydreaming (and many other people) in the fascist 1930s Italy. There's a sentence written by the Brazilian author Machado de Assis in one of his novels that is suitable for this magnificent film: "O menino é o pai do homem" ("The Boy is The Man's Father").

A well deserved Best Foreign Film Oscar (Nino Rota should've won too – he wasn't even nominated!). 10 out of 10.
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It's much like a catalogue of bitter-sweet memories
raymond-1515 December 2003
In the corners of the mind there are memories....bitter, sweet, scary, embarrassing, wonderful....and they topple out unexpectedly and for little reason at any moment.

Such is Fellini's treatment of this film. With no real story line, we are offered a series of events....a collection drawn from his own experiences and I would suspect from his vivid imagination.

While all the characters are interesting in their earthy approach to life and its problems, some of the episodes related are scarcely worth mentioning while others are quite outstanding in their appeal. I like particularly the Greek lesson in which a little girl is taught correct pronunciation, the excitement of a celebratory bonfire with little boys playfully exploding crackers among unsuspecting villagers, a priest rather too interested in details during the confessional, Uncle Teo's eccentric behaviour and the rifle fire bringing down the bells from the belfry.

There are magic moments too. The builder afloat with friends on a calm sea looks up at the night sky filled with stars. Turning philosopher he muses at the miracle. "What keeps all that stuff up there?" he asks. and thoughtfully adds "There are no foundations!"

Another beautiful moment is the announcement of Spring after the long cold icy Winter when Nature sets free all the fluffy seeds drifting about in the wind.

In retrospect there is something in this film for everybody. I am surprised how many of the little episodes bring to mind incidents in my own life which I have long forgotten.
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I remember...
bobsgrock21 September 2009
No other film maker remembers like Federico Fellini. He is able to comprehend and contemplate the importance and beauty of memory and images that come to our minds. He did it with practically every film he made, culminating with La Dolce Vita and 8 1/2. Here, towards the end of his career amidst some films that seemed to pretentious or overanxious to amuse us, he presents a story about people. Not just one person, but a whole group of people living in a small coastal town in Italy 1930s.

It may not be his most dazzling or mesmerizing film, but Amarcord is Fellini's most personal journey. It is told through multiple narrators, all who add a little more the picture, but mostly it is told through the incredible images Fellini creates. His use of color is astonishing, balancing bright colors of passion against the dull lackluster colors of white and black. He also gives us multiple fantasy sequences, building on those of Guido in 8 1/2. Here, they are more abstract but more meaningful. There is a young boy probably supposed to represent him, but it is clear Fellini admired and loved all these quirky people. There is Gradisca the village beauty, Teo the crazy uncle, Aurelio the loud and stern father, and Miranda the loyal and loving mother. Fellini films all of them with such grace and affection, you can't help but be swept up into this world. And, as with most Fellini, you really don't want to leave either.
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Good but light.
RLoeb12 October 2003
While this film certainly has some poignant points about life, it is mostly the work of a great artist who has reached an age where he can view his childhood memories from a detached, nostalgic point of view. Visual splendour and humor abound, and it is a thoroughly delightful watch but I still like Fellini more, when he is more personally invested in the problems of his characters, as in Dolce Vita or 8 1/2.
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Good? Bad? What Amarcord means to me.
zajac-124 February 2001
It's truly astonishing to see the range of response for other reviewers on IMDB.

This movie has a history for me. I first saw it when I was young, and it impressed me greatly. Would I like it today? I'm not sure. I'm thinking of renting it again to find out.

Here's what I remember: Excellent score by Rota; sitting here, typing this, I can hum one of the melodies. The sequence where we meet a number of teachers; priceless. The bricklayer/poet's poem about not having a house. The unyeilding emotional black hole that is the hero's father; "take him to the whorehouse...". Teo. The village. The technical fact of the tabacconist's shadow growing larger against the wall as she moves "away" from the light, just like Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Gradisca. Snow. The spring cottonwood wisps that offer a gently rocking temporal cradle to a story which traipses on the edge between straight narrative and emotional space. Gradisca's wedding. Time becoming a wash as we give up our dreams and settle down. The end of an era.

Will all this fine feeling and high emotional tone work for me today? If it doesn't, does this reflect on me or this movie? Stay tuned....
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Fellini and Flatulence
kenjha7 August 2011
Fellini explores the lives of the residents of a coastal Italian town. Although it looks at lives of numerous people in the small town, the focus is on a family that presumably is based on Fellini's own family. Apparently Fellini grew up in a family of Italian stereotypes. The mother fusses. The father screams. It's like a sitcom except that there are hardly any laughs. This is not high art. The humor is on the level of "Porky's" and "American Pie," with lots of emphasis on flatulence, bodily fluids, and the female anatomy. The cinematography is colorful, but there is no plot here to sustain interest; it's a series of disconnected episodes that soon become tiresome.
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mokono18 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I write this for mainly two reasons: 1. As I clicked through a few pages of reviews, most of them were raving madly about Fellini, not many gave below 10, and then again, not much lower. 2. When I stopped to read a few of them, they contained obvious misinterpretations of the movie (which was funny) and none of them came up with a significant argument as to why the movie was good but just not for my taste.

With the disclaimer done, here's my feelings about the piece: Fireworks. Loud, full of cracks, constantly surprising and distracting you with big flashes and quick satisfaction.

This movie represents the life in this seaside little city, but does so via caricatures. Very loud, very energetic, very... "Italian" caricatures, you could say. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing, except that it probably needs to be funny most of the time. Which it isn't. It consists mainly of slapstick humor, slight sexual references, kids being cheeky, the works. Sure, it is entertaining at times, but 2 hours of it?

I did not feel much connection to the characters, some, indeed, I did not really recognize in the middle of the constant mess of the screen (admittedly, the woman who dies left me a bit confused). As there is no plot, you don't really see anyone grow, just really pass the time, but I may be a sucker for plots, so enough about that.

There are several special events that go on to show how the people at the time lived them. I interpreted them mostly as a mockery of the masses, especially for the fascist parade. Entertaining, in fact, but they're so fast and superficial that.. one's left with a feeling of "..that's what you wanted to show?"

One thing I did enjoy from the constant mess was how some scenes were composed of irrelevant people who were bluntly being so. Comes to mind especially the construction scene, where, out of 20 workers, none was doing absolutely anything that could be valued in an actual construction site.

So, to wrap-up, outside of a few good jokes, interesting moments (e.g.: poetry) and nice recreations, this film is simply too much for too little. I would consider watching it again, were it shortened to 30 minutes.
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Major Disappointment
Syagrius28 February 2005
I really wanted to like this movie; I am a great Italophile and thoroughly enjoyed Fellini's "Satyricon," but "Amarcord" was a major disappointment. The movie is set in the 1930s and portrays the everyday adventures of the citizens of Rimini, an Italian city by the Adriatic sea. But it merely scratches the surface of several themes -- love, coming of age, fascism --without exploring them in depth. Moreover, the protagonists are hardly more complex than popular notions about "typical" Italians and, given that the narrative bounces back and forth between at least a dozen people, there is no way for the viewer to identify with any of them. I found myself watching this movie waiting for a plot that never happened. The various subplots -- if they can be called that -- did not add up to an ensemble but rather led to a bunch of unfinished story lines that left me puzzled and frustrated. True, the scenic shots of Rimini and Italy's breath-taking countryside are captivating, but they can't compensate for the virtual absence of a plot and a circus of superficial and often outright annoying protagonists. I had to force myself to watch "Amarcord" to the bitter end and will definitely wait a while before taking out my next Fellini movie.
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phoeniks-112 December 2005
Fellini's nostalgic account on his early years is a tremendously touching and fascinating time capsule that never lets up! More fiction of course that actual history lesson (this is after all Fellini!), although the period seems real enough. One unforgettable scene after another! No one did ever capture sentiment, poetry and drama the way Fellini did, in a way that made the clichés digestible and with real feeling and not emotional swamp. AMARCORD could be his best work alongside LA DOLCE VITA. Some of the best scenes includes the voluptuous big mama in the little town that could make Anita Ekberg green with envy and the old grandpa that still has a great appetite for the opposite sex. Classic movie-making of the highest order!
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johanna-690-6996731 December 2018
Fellini's brilliant interweaving of fantasy and reality perfectly captures the childhood memory, the way we see our past through a romanticized lens. Highlighted by odd, bittersweet moments and spots of unexpected humor, this film is fascinating.
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"You see, we Fascists aren't all that bad."
classicsoncall13 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I guess I'm just not meant to be a Fellini fan. I've seen three of his films ("La Strada", "Nights of Cabiria", and "8 1/2"), and though I've rated them well enough based on his visual style and technique, they didn't really engage me in a meaningful way. This film is most similar to "La Strada" in regard to the randomness of the situations presented. There really is no coherent narrative to the story and scenes proceed along rather arbitrarily. If the idea is that Fellini is conjuring up nostalgic memories from his past I'd be okay with that, but I miss the structure of a story with a sound beginning, middle and ending. In this picture, the director appears to be satirizing his youth perhaps, turning daily life into something of a circus with adolescent desires and male fantasies abounding. A particular thought occurred to me regarding the wandering narrator who kept popping up from time to time. I thought he might have been the adult Titta (Bruno Zanin), all grown up and reflecting back on his youth, but that was not the case. In retrospect, that might have been a way for Fellini to more effectively tell his story. For this viewer, I'll have to content myself acknowledging that when it comes to Fellini, I'm just not going to get it.
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The Relaxed Mind of a Retired Genius
tedg13 December 2002
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Kurosawa never relaxed. He was inventing and taking risks until his eighties. Fellini, on the other hand was in the Bunuel class: he stopped being interesting midway in life and we are all poorer as a result.

This is a very watchable film, even endearing in places. After all, this was a man who still knew how to see situations for us. But the situations are inconsequential -- there is no life force here. No one will have their life changed by this as they might with more than one of his earlier projects. This isn't art, it's just emotional decoration. It is coffeetable Fellini.

The compromises in this film bothered the cowriter, Tonino Guerra until he collaborated with another great filmmaker 8 years later. The same subject: constructed memory. But this time, in Tarkovsky's `Nostalgia,' you end up with something both beautiful and lifealtering. Can't say that of `Amarcord.'

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 4: Has some interesting elements.
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Not my definition of magic or nostalgia
WhimsicalVonia9 November 2017
I tried to like it, I really did.

Sure, there were some entertaining vignettes, interesting characters, a delightful soundtrack, and some heartfelt scenes, both physically and emotionally. But nothing really moved me. And I was bored. I understand this film was quite personal for Fellini. I guess that means I am unable to understand his Italian way of life quite enough to appreciate this one. I like Fellini overall, but this was definitely not one of his best.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta," he said.

This was not magic. Not my kind, anyways.
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boring, pointless, and tacky
Rodinho5 December 1999
Why was this film made? It is nothing more than a fragmented hodgepodge of tacky adolescent fantasies and uninteresting (yet irritating) adults. I cannot imagine people like this inspiring "nostalgia" in anyone. My thoughts during the film could be described as complete indifference sprinkled with an occasional but acute desire to turn the thing off. The cinematography and score were excellent, however, and there were some genuinely funny scenes, including the one with Uncle Teo. Despite these elements, this film is a colossal waste of everyone's time.
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Sweet & Bitter
Krustallos30 September 2004
Although on one level this is indeed a warm reminiscence of youth, it would be a mistake to think that's all it is. In fact there is sharp satire at the heart of the film, indicated by the punning title - "Amarcord" is the local dialect for "I remember" (used in preference to the Italian "Mi ricordo") while "Amaro" is Italian for "bitter".

There is considerable brutality among the laughs - a man is maltreated by the Fascists, a small boy tries to kill his infant brother with a rock in an aside the casual viewer might miss.

Rimini stands in for the whole of Italy as Fellini tries to get to grips with what factors in the national psyche (Catholicism, the education system, past imperial glory, sexual frustration) led Italy to invent and wholeheartedly embrace fascism.

These are some of Fellini's own comments on the film:-

"The province of Amarcord is one in which we are all recognizable, the director first of all, in the ignorance which confounded us. A great ignorance and a great confusion. Not that I wish to minimize the economic and social causes of fascism. I only wish to say that today what is still most interesting is the psychological, emotional manner of being a fascist. What is this manner? It is a sort of blockage, an arrested development during the phase of adolescence… That is, this remaining children for eternity, this leaving responsibilities for others, this living with the comforting sensation that there is someone who thinks for you (and at one time it's mother, then it's father, then it's the mayor, another time Il Duce, another time the Madonna, another time the Bishop, in short other people): and in the meanwhile you have this limited, time-wasting freedom which permits you only to cultivate absurd dreams – the dream of the American cinema, or the Oriental dream concerning women; in conclusion, the same old, monstrous, out-of-date myths that even today seem to me to form the most important conditioning of the average Italian."

One can only speculate on what Fellini would have made of Berlusconi.

Apparently the film as we see it was originally planned as part of a larger-scale project in which a man in the present day retreats into a nostalgic reminiscence of his adolescence. For whatever reason that framing device was abandoned and what we have is just the reminiscence.

Fellini described "Amarcord" as "a minor planet... not a masterpiece" but for all that it enjoyed considerable success and remains wonderful to behold. On the downside it could be considered the seed of the later plague of execrable 'adolescence' movies such as "Porky's" and "Road Trip".

Still, you can't blame Fellini for that.
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Fellini always had something to offer
lee_eisenberg5 October 2005
Most of Federico Fellini's movies were deliberately bizarre, but "Amarcord" is toned down slightly. That doesn't mean that it's not good. On the contrary, it's another masterpiece. In this case, he focuses on a small town in 1930s Italy, as seen from the eyes of a teenage boy. It's a world of Mussolini's fascism, and a movie theater full of many classic movies. A particularly interesting scene has them burning "the witch", and there's a little bit of a mishap (or maybe it wasn't a mishap).

Anyway, "Amarcord" is another great movie from the man who may have been Italy's greatest director in history. A true classic.
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Sentimental journey
paul2001sw-122 March 2014
Federico Fellini's 'Amarcord' is a chaotic, grotesque yet sentimental portrayal of an Italian childhood maybe not so different from the director's own. It entertains some Italian clichés (in a way that only an Italian could get away with), makes some serious points about the awfulness of fascism, and plays with the contrast between the eternal notion of "la dolce vita" with the reality of life in a poor, rural town in the years between the wars. It's fun but light; a lot of the humour is really very broad. I enjoyed it, but as my introduction to such a renowned cinematiste as Fellini, it didn't quite explain his illustrious reputation.
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Is this the best film ever made?
zetes17 February 2001
I am shuddering while trying to collect my thoughts after watching Fellini's Amarcord. It's this feeling I get when I know I have just experienced something great. The last time it was anywhere near this magnitude was after having watched Ingmar Bergman's Persona. But this is greatness on a previously unexperienced magnitude.

Federico Fellini is one of the greatest of all filmmakers. And to think there was a time, only a couple of years ago, when I despised his films. Well, a great number of his later films I still do dislike. I have since fallen in love with his earlier films, everything from Variety Lights to 8 1/2. And now I have re-ventured into his more recent films, his color films after 8 1/2, starting with Juliette of the Spirits, which I think is one of the most frivolous things ever created by a great artist.

But Amarcord! I have never felt these same emotions while watching a film as Fellini made me feel during this one! It is an experiment in unabashed nostalgia. Nostalgia happens to be the strongest emotion known to man. There are dozens of characters in this film with whom you'll utterly fall in love. I never wanted this film to end! When I realized it was ending, tears started streaming down my face uncontrollably. I had just finished watching maybe my new favorite film!
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