"Fellini's theme of coming of age memoir works as a beautiful nostalgic piece. The film resonates from an earlier film of his 8 1/2 showing the director's flashes to his seaside hometown. I've watched this film several times and on every occassion find something new. Here's a tip to enjoy watching a foreign film - Do NOT watch the English dubbed version if there is any - so much is lost in the film. Fellini's films work with subtitles because they make you forget you're reading them at all and as always, Fellini pleases both eye and ear and subsequently the heart. The musical score by Nino Rota is something one looks forward to in every scene. His music perfectly sets the tempo of each image, and I mean each and every one. What a duo of artistic genius these two men are! Watching the film on its excellent Criterion-restored DVD version, one can only wonder what the cinema world would be without Fellini."
Being Oneself:Always an Act of Creation in Amarcord
J. Brackett | Greenville, SC | 05/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The theme of this story is the compassion that allows close-knit, small-town Italians in the 1930's to lead a meaningful existence in the context of Fascist oppression and economic hardship. This story is culturally valuable because it shows the beauty of meaningfully existing, unchanged, amid destructive and oppressive forces. When a peacock lands in the snow with its beautiful, vibrant blue and green feathers, it exemplifies beauty, simply existing, within harsh conditions. The point of the story is not that the characters of this small Italian town make any world-altering advances, but rather that they maintain what they already have and admire--their sense of community and individual compassion--despite oppressive odds. Fellini gives his audience mischievous adolescents, oblivious teachers, a "crazy" uncle, a humorous grandfather, an idealistic and extremely feminine beauty, a generous but sickly mother and her easily-angered husband, dissatisfied workers, a story-telling lawyer, a prince, and a lying snack vendor. And none of these characters is ever treated inhumanely, or as being of any less value than any other. The uncle has an episode in which he climbs a tree and throws rocks at people who try to get him down, all the while yelling, "I want a woman!" Hours pass and the doctor who eventually comes to get him down remarks, "He has normal days, and he has not normal days...Just like us." Through the interaction of these characters, Fellini allows his audiences to encounter a town, the families, a community, and the simple life that exists within it. This film is powerful because it is saying that one does not have to defeat oppression to be worthy of being a model, seen and honored. You have only to live, to be yourself--which means to create--to be something powerful and moving."
2006 Criterion Version = the most beautiful packaging of a s
Fellini's Hippocampus | Roma Italy | 10/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Seriously I'm a huge Fellini fan and Love "Amarcord"! I am so impressed with the treatment Criterion gave this film. It is definitly worth the money for this magnificent package! From the vibrant and warm painted scenes on the box to the incredible bound book that comes in the box! Bravo Criterion seriously the best package I have seen thus far from Criterion. Amazing!"
Fellini's Other Deeply Personal Extraordinary Film
Daniel Garris | Cali | 06/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like 8 1/2 before it, Amarcord marks an extremely personal film for Fellini. Like his relationship to Guido in 8 1/2, the character of Titta serves as an extension of Fellini on film. Whereas Guido served as an extension of Fellini's state of mind, Titta serves as an extension of Fellini's childhood memories.Through the retelling of emotional stories that deal with Titta and his family, Amarcord (which translates into "I Remember") presents a cyclical collage of wondrous nostalgia for the Italy of Fellini's childhood. Starting in the spring and ending their one year later with the return of the yearly "puffballs", we are presented with and touched by the many experiences that Titta comes face to face with.At the same time, the film is much more than a mere visual presentation of Fellini's own nostalgia, for it also questions the true validity of one's own memories. This questioning of memory by Fellini is made apparent in the manner in which single scenes can go from "reality" based to fantasy-like parody back to "reality" based in a manner of moments. One of the more noteworthy examples of this technique is the scene in which El Duce visits the local town square. In the scene the serious yet joyous procession of El Duce eventually turns into a comedic/fantasy experience in which schoolchildren are shown happily carrying guns in the imagined wedding of two schoolchildren in front of a giant talking Mussolini head. Moments later the film cuts to nightfall, in which the local Fascists soldiers wreak havoc on the town and afterwards interrogate and beat Titta's father. Depending on Fellini's own presentation of the Italian Fascists, (and just as importantly, the view in Italy towards the Fascists at that time) very different interpretations can be read of them. In using such a juxtaposition, Fellini (in his echoing of Arnheim's formalist theory) is purposely trying to express the impossibility of remembering and re-presenting a true account of the past as a result of the individual nature of memory itself. Another scene that blurs the real and the imagined is Titta's late-night encounter with a large busty Tobacconist (she is given no true name within the film) just as she has closed up her shop. The woman, who Titta has fantasized about at an earlier point in the film, playfully flirts with Titta, a flirtation that eventually ends in a moment of extreme foreplay between the two. But the inexperienced Titta is unable to please the tobacconist, and she soon forces him to stop. At this time she acts as if nothing has happened, she gives him his tobacco and shows him out the store. How much of this was real, and how much of this was imagined both within the film and with regard to Fellini's own experiences? As is the case with many of the other sequences in the film, the answer is left up to the viewer.Amarcord is thus not so much about reconstructing mirror images of the past, but rather more about how we would like to, and thus do, remember the past through our own distorted points of view. Andrei Tarkovsky deals with very similar themes in his film Mirror, albeit in a manner that is much less entertaining than Amarcord, which was released shortly after Amarcord.**** (10/10)"
Fellini's greatest accomplishment
Don Luther | Knoxville TN | 06/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't believe how much I love this film. This is a film with splendid visuals: of course, there is the peacock in the snow, but how about the scene of Tio climbing the tree during his outing with the family, the motorcyclist racing through the walls of snow, or the fantasy marriage conducted by Mussolini. Fellini's imagination, and the visuals he produces to match these memories, makes this an unforgettable treat. He looks back fondly, perhaps too fondly, on the pre-World War II era in Italy. But we also see a memoir of a young man, coming of age during one highly eventful year of growing up."