The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, May 6-12

05/06/2015 9:00 AM |

i vitelloni

I Vitelloni (1953)
Directed by Federico Fellini
Ever a most marvelously dramatic, tragically humored fabulist, Fellini was hardly one for spartan aesthetics and narrative straightforwardness. Even some of his earliest films, such as La Strada and The White Sheik, while displaying little of the polyphonic explosiveness of Amarcord, say, or La Dolce Vita, still feature generous shares of the filmmaker’s trademark meandering plots and visual richnesses. Indulging a bit more in the former than the latter, I Vitelloni, a true gem among Fellini’s earlier titles, features tragicomically layered, circumstantially overlapping storylines for several of its main characters, all the while telling an ostensibly simple tale of how a motley band of “loser” buddies—the lover, the cheater, the intellectual, the jock, the aspirant—might very easily give in or fall victim to the existentially comforting gravities of their homey, hometown lives. Or not. For within escapism lies also, indeed inescapably, escape. Paul D’Agostino (May 8, 7:30pm at BAM)