duminică, 15 aprilie 2018

Amarcord written and directed by Federico Fellini

Amarcord written and directed by Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini was one of the gods of Italian and World Cinema, the genius who gave audiences:
La Dolce Vita, The Nights of Cabiria, 8 ½,, Juliet of the Spirits, La Strada, I Vitelloni, Satyricon and other masterpieces, including the celebrated Amarcord.

This feature has won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, was nominated for Oscars for Best Director and Best Writing, Original Screenplay, golden Globe and so many other prizes.
Amarcord is an allegorical narrative, with humorous and tragic characters, humor and the horror of the Italian fascist disease, personages that are crazy, others that are simply amusing and endearing.

This is the late 1930s and there are incidents connected with the Benito Mussolini regime, one in which one character is called in and questioned, first on why he is not using the Roman salute, then about a supposed reference he made to the dictator and the poor suspect has to insist he is not interested in politics.
Amusement is also combined with outrage, or at least a feeling of revulsion, as when the story of the thirty concubines, arriving at the hotel is told, with their abusive male guards, who use cans and keep them wrapped in what looks like the Muslim hijab.

However, the prisoners get out at night on the balcony, at least three on one side and another three on the other and start calling a local man, who has tied bed sheets to climb on and then pretends he ravaged twenty-eight of the ladies.
Leopardi and Dante are discussed, one personage is asking if the interlocutor has heard of the former and then makes sure that he connects him with the much more famous Dante Alighieri, one of the best writers of humankind, and then places Leopardi right under Dante, only to push him higher and closer to the giant in a second instance.

Some of the jocularity can be seen as primitive or charming, simple and part of the daily fare of uneducated, ordinary folk like grandpa, who keeps whistling and making some rude gestures with his fisted hand, supposed to suggest sexual intercourse- which he has done so much of in his youth- and then makes other crude jokes like… a man has to piss often to be in shape.

Alas, after such a session, with wise cracks, he pees on his pants.
Titta seems to be the hero of the motion picture and his whole family, the relatives have supporting roles, from the mad uncle Teo, to Aurelio Biondi, the grandfather who brags about his own father’s father: “My father's father was known as "Big Meat." He lived to be 107 and he was still doing it!
[Whistle, whistle, whistle, whistle, whistle, whistle, whistle]

At one point, uncle Teo climbs up a large, tall tree and starts shouting that he wants a woman and does not stop for a long time, throwing stones at his family, even if they agree with him…at his age, it makes sense to want a woman- and the grandfather adds his usual gestures and whistles after the agreement.
Titta has to see the Father Balosa, the Catholic priest, for confession and some talking down, which refers to the very serious sin of touching himself- on this note, this wrong idea is one reason why Nathaniel Branden, one of the greatest psychologists considers that The Psychological Effects of Religion are all negative.

The hero thinks of the woman in the tobacco shop “ stacked as she is”  and the math teacher “who looks just like a lion”, ending up in a sexual relationship with the former, who gives him the big breasts and the younger partner approaches this moment like a suckling baby.
Another personage has reflections that are much less humorous, if at all, and cause on the contrary chagrin, grief and sadness:

“I want one of those long encounters that last a lifetime. I want a family, children, a husband to chat with in the evenings over coffee, maybe, and to make love with now and then, because when you must, you must. But affection is even more important than love. I'm so full of affection. But who can I give it to? Who wants it?”

There are also thoughts of death, like those uttered at one stage by the generally positive, always active- at least in his own words- grandpa:

“Where am I? I don't seem to be anywhere. If death is like this, I don't think much of it. Everything's gone. People, trees, birds, wine. Well, up yours!”

And there are so many beautiful images, like the peacock in the snow, the white powder itself, falling for days on the city, the grotesque, outré figures populating the scenes in this magic film.
The New York Times included Amarcord on its list of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made:

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