By Michael Kalafatis (Stoke on Trent)
Directed by Federico Fellini. Starring Bruno Zanin,Magali Zoel, Pupella Maggio and Armando Brancia. Amarcord opens with abundance of dandelion seeds hovering and swirling in a small town of Italy, the dandelion seeds are the indication that spring is coming, at this point we are introduced to all the various characters that inhabit this rural town who welcome both the spring and us to the world of Federico Fellini. Amarcord means “I remember” in the dialect of Remini, the town where Fellini grew up which resembles the small town shown in Amarcord. The town and the inhabitants are very important part of the film as in the duration of the film we manage to learn snippet of information regarding their personality like the blind accordion player, Volpina a nymphomaniac, the buxom tobacconist, the informative lawyer who talks directly at us breaking the fourth wall and Gradisca who owns a beauty parlour who is lusted by most of the male population which in this category Titta (Bruno Zanin) is included, Titta and his family is the main focal point of Amarcord narrative.
Titta as an adolescent full of vigour always manage to get in trouble with the pranks that he commits with his friends making his father so upset that even when the whole are sat down to have diner he to upset him so much that he starts chasing him around the table to no avail as he manages to escape by running outside, which makes his father angrier and he starts biting his own hat while his wife tells him to calm down. This scene is quiet amusing and also true to life, like most Fellini’s films the characters in Amarcord are shown with affection that it makes us feel like we are part of Titta’s family but also the opening scene which shows us the town’s people gathered to welcome spring by burning the effigy of “the old witch of the winter” it’s a scene so well-choreographed that it flows so effortlessly from character to character that we imagine ourselves surrounded by the people of the town.
Amarcord showcase Federico Fellini at the height of his directing career, while incorporating all the traits found in his previous films like the use of memories, surrealism, auto- biographical elements, blend of reality with fantasy and a carnivalesque feel, all these elements put together manage to create Fellini’s trademark style, a type of style that has come to be known as Felliniesque. In Amarcord the Felliniesque style is enhance once more from the music of Fellini’s long-time collaborator Nino Rota who manage to create a subtle musical score that makes the scenes flow from one another effortlessly and enhance the feeling of nostalgia that engulfs the film from the opening credits till the end credits.
The unnamed town is a major character of the film, as we see its streets, we witness the change of the seasons that change its scenery a good example is when it starts snowing and a peacock pays a visit to the town’s people while they play snowball in the “Year of the big Snow” as the lawyer informs us or when Titta grandfather cannot find his house because of the fog that obscure it or even in the summer were they go to visit Teo Tita’s uncle. That is reason Amarcord works because it manages to give us a sense of a real place and characters who easily could exist and is very much like life itself as it has funny, heart-breaking and poignant moments and most importantly has heart that envelopes the film’s character and town in a caring way by showing the good and bad characteristics for both.