Tag Archives: Federico Fellini

Fellini’s Restored AMARCORD Will Receive Tribute at Venice Film Fest

amarcord“Federico Fellini’s fourth film to win the foreign Oscar, 1973’s AMARCORD will receive a special tribute at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, which runs September 2-12,” writes Ryan Lattanzio in Indiewire.

“A new restoration from eminent preservation entity Cineteca di Bologna will world-premiere …at the festival,” he continues. The film “boasts a menagerie of eccentric, colorful characters…Nina Rota, of course, delivers yet another magical score.”

amarcord-075-1000085560Fellini on the set of AMARCORD.

In addition to winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Fellini also received two additional Academy Award nominations for AMARCORD: Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Vincent Canby, critic for the New York Times, loved the film when it opened, writing: “It’s an extravagantly funny, sometimes dreamlike evocation of a year in the life of a small Italian coastal town in the nineteen-thirties, not as it literally was, perhaps, but as it is recalled by a director with a superstar’s access to the resources of the Italian film industry and a piper’s command over our imaginations. When Mr. Fellini is working in peak condition, as he is in AMARCORD (the vernacular for ‘I remember’ in Romagna), he somehow brings out the best in us. We become more humane, less stuffy, more appreciative of the profound importance of attitudes that in other circumstances would seem merely eccentric if not lunatic…AMARCORD is as full of tales as Scheherazade, some romantic, some slapstick, some elegiacal, some bawdy, some as mysterious as the unexpected sight of a peacock flying through a light snowfall. It’s a film of exhilarating beauty.”

AMARCORD is nostalgia, a warm recreation of the world of Fellini’s childhood, but it is not merely memory, argues critic Sam Rohdie, it is a fantastical universe of its own. “It is an imaginary town with imaginary, projected characters who are fragments, magnifications, caricatures, and grotesques, as in a dream.” To watch the film is to share Fellini’s own flickering daydream, a mixture of recollection and fantasy.

EPSON scanner image

Fellini’s illustration for the character of Aurelio Biondi, the short fused working class father of the teen protagonist, Titta.

“There was his sketching and doodling, essentially a playing,”  Rohdie continues, “a search for the shape of the film in these images, a process of seeking out and discovery that carried over into the actual filming, where the film you see is the film being discovered in the process of filming, as if there were no ‘before’ to it, as if the film had been found. It is not a record, then, of something outside it but an expression of an inspiration chanced upon at the moment of filming.”

Felliini’s film technique underscores this sense of illusion by celebrating the artificiality of the effects. One night a majestic cruise ship passes close by the town, like a mystical apparition. The townspeople marvel as it steams by, lights aglow in the fog. Yet the ship was constructed of cardboard, the ocean was black plastic, it was all cinema magic. amarcord_boat1-11_jpg_627x325_crop_upscale_q85

Rohdie concludes: “”The essential subject of Fellini’s films, and particularly of the late ones, like AMARCORD is the cinema itself, another world: ephemeral, touching, ineffable, comic, and grand . . . like a pheasant in the snow.”tumblr_mcmf57FK3k1rc84x4o1_500

My favorite of Rohdie’s observations: “AMARCORD is like a circus, composed of numbers, perfectly linear and sequential but whose links are neither logical, dra­matic, nor narratively motivated. Each of the numbers in the film is a circus act, and the actors are the circus clowns.”

There is no higher praise, as far as I’m concerned. 15631973amarcordbelga19

 

Fellini’s 8 1/2 has been restored

Kevin Jagernauth at The Playlist writes:

“There are cinema classics, and then there’s Federico Fellini‘s “8 1/2.” Sight & Sound placed it in the top ten of its Greatest Films Of All Time list, filmmakers like Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese adore it, and you haven’t seen it, you can’t call yourself a true cinephile. Folks in the UK have a chance to see Fellini’s film as it was meant to be experienced —on the big screen.

The British Film Institute has dropped a trailer for the newly restored “8 1/2,” and of course it looks gorgeous. The iconic Marcello Mastroianni leads the cast which includes Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimée and Sandra Milo in a dreamlike movie scored by the always terrific Nino Rota.

“8 1/2″ returns to UK cinemas on May 1st.” Hopefully the print will come to the USA soon!

The film earned Fellini an Oscar, and has been called a masterpiece by many, but its appeal to those in the industry is certainly due to the subject matter: it is a film about the filmmaking process. Derek Malcolm, writing in his Century of Film series in The Guardian, says “8 1/2 is probably the most potent movie about film-making.” But opinions are divided, in the same way that opinions about BIRDMAN are divided. Some find 8 1/2 sublime, others find it self indulgent. Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius debate the point at Film School Rejects:

Landon:  8 1/2 has a special place in the hearts and minds of cinephiles. It’s almost a rite of passage for movie lovers. So my question is, what does Fellini say about filmmaking that’s so damned special?

Cole: It’s not really about making movies so much as it is about a man struggling with his work…which happens to be making movies. It’s a great movie, but it’s also hugely, unrepentently self-aggrandizing. It makes the work of filmmakers seem terribly important.

Landon: Yes, to your point, 8 1/2 is at its core quite self-indulgent. Do you think it’s self-awarely so, or is its opinion of the seriousness of filmmaking worn on its sleeve?

Cole: That might be entirely up the each viewer. Those who see Guido as a serious hero may place the ideas behind the film on a pedestal that’s on top of a pedestal. Those who see Guido as taking himself far, far too seriously might roll their eyes through the laughter of his experiences and hand-wringing.

Landon:  My bet is that this doesn’t resemble in any way the day-to-day process of filmmaking.

Cole: But 8 1/2 gets at the feeling of the creative process. It bottles the impossibility and the absurdity of filmmaking.”

It’s helpful to note that the director knew he was poking fun at both the filmmaking process and the human condition. Fellini took “a little piece of brown paper tape” and stuck it near the viewfinder of the camera. Written on it was Ricordati che è un film comico — “Remember that this is a comic film”.