Federico Fellini’s Felliniesque autobiography-as-tall tale Amarcord (“I remember”) opens at Film Forum today and continues through the 16th; reviewing the film in the current issue of the L, our own Nicolas Rapold sez:
In Fellini’s 13th film he reimagines his hometown, Rimini, circa the 1930s and brings new meaning to the phrase "society of the spectacle." The vignettes and moments — the first dandelion-like seeds of spring, giddy bonfire celebrations, a tobacconist’s planetary mammaries — tack between prewar idylls and thrice-told memories. With ellipses for eerie beauty, whole stretches of the movie consist of horniness and hysterics and taunts and laughter, more or less reflecting the discerning tastes of a pimply schoolboy. The festivities for Mussolini’s arrival, and with him Fascism, slot in as naturally as the raucous night of a racecar rally. Influential on many cinematic reminiscences to come, the town has mascots and notables, a fantasy-object starlet and a yammering family that’s our touchstone. The real movie magic consists in the fact that the succession of walk-on anecdotes doesn’t founder on screen, loosely spanning a year and ending with the most traditional pageant of them all.
Unrelated but appropriately sepia-toned anecdote: in high school I was in a production of The Comedy of Errors that was set in Italy during the 1930s, a choice inspired by our director’s recent viewing of Amarcord. She used the upbeat parts of the Nino Rota score (3 minutes in for those) to choreograph the opening and scene transitions. I mention this because it’s such a great score, it sounds like every wistful oh-back-then movie made since.