182. Amarcord (Italy 1973)

 Memories of growing up in Rimini in the 1930s.

d. Federico Fellini

starring: Pupella Maggio, Armando Brancia, Magali Noel

BEST BIT: Old fashioned patriarch Aurelio Biondi tries to enjoy his family meal while grandfather tells tales of his own father's unquenchable erection, his wife threatens to kill herself and his son is berated for pissing on a local dignitary's hat from the top balcony of the cinema. Biondi's impotent (so to speak) reaction to these events (including grandfather's farting keep fit exercises) is one of THE great pay offs in film history.

fact: 'Amarcord' is an southern Italian dialect word meaning 'I remember'.

An episodic, stylised version of Fellini's early life seen through the eyes of a variety of characters including a thinly veiled adolescent version of the director himself called Titta (ye not, ooh-er! etc, forever).

Gravesen's fan club turned up in their eights home and away.

Amarcord embraces a wide variety of genres and consequently its tone is very uneven. A typical 'maturation plot' (Titta grows up) is mixed up with serious drama (the rise of Mussolini/the torture of Titta's father); the art film (swathes of Felliniesque/Pasolini scarlets amongst the most incongruous of backgrounds/ the pathetic fallacy of the changing seasons/the peacock in the snow) and lots of Rabelaisian, very crude comedy.

It's ART, mate.

The film is very rude. There are farting, pissing, arse, tit and bollock jokes aplenty and a massed wanking in a car scene is an obvious (?) pre-cursor of the Bohemian Rhapsody/shaking car segment of Wayne's World. However, such vulgarity is tempered by Fellini's striking imagery (the distant lighthouse, snowfall, seed clouds and the central image of local beauty Magali Noel) to create a strange, curate's egg of a film, which, nevertheless, lingers forever in the memory

There's also a  fantastic score from Nino Rota and brilliant cinematography (obviously) from Giuseppe Rotunno in Fellini's last great film ('Mutiny On The Buses'* excepted).


*There. I've mentioned it. Satisfied?