Review: Amarcord (I Remember, 1973)

amarcord_boat1

I don’t have anything to say here, I really don’t!

Screenplay By: Tonino Guerra
Directed By: Federico Fellini

Amarcord isn’t a traditional film, it doesn’t have a constantly flowing narrative, nor does it concern itself with getting the viewer from point A to point B. Amarcord is a recollection movie, it is Federico Fellini reminiscing about his childhood in Italy and transporting the viewer to a time in-between great wars when a directors vision was formed. For that reason it isn’t an easy movie to take in, at least if you are the sort of movie watcher who likes their movies to follow a typical story structure.

This isn’t a film that judges, rather it shows the times, or the memory of the times if you will. Amarcord doesn’t concern itself with being accurate, because memory often isn’t accurate. Maybe some things played out differently, but this isn’t a film about how life actually was in 1930’s Italy, it is a movie about how Fellini thinks it was. To this end the story is frank in its own ways. Obviously in regards to sexuality and humor Amarcord is very open and straight forward. But, Amarcord is also very honest when it comes to what these characters witness, see and partake of. There are light moments, there are serious moments, but they are the moments that constitute living. The Fascist Party is around, but this isn’t a movie that condemns them or their followers. Amarcord is honest about where the Italian people were in 1930, they accept Mussolini and his party as something different, something that may be better. They also show that some were opposed to Mussolini and his ways and that totalitarian measures were already being taken to keep the populace in check. Amarcord doesn’t denounce the Fascist Party, but it does show the beginnings of what we know of said party.

Fellini does great things in Amarcord. He uses his camera wonderfully, the story is engaging, the characters are interesting, the sets are wonderful in their surreal nature. But, Amarcord isn’t so much about technical accomplishments as it is about the feeling you take away from watching the film. A lot of movies concern themselves with events happening and with people progressing, Amarcord allows its characters to live and what happens will happen. I know my syntax is getting redundant, but Amarcord isn’t a slice of life, it is life as Fellini remembers it.

Amarcord is a bit uneven, but then again life has a way of being uneven. Amarcord is a bit crude, but life is crude. The humor is obnoxious at times, but humor and people are obnoxious. Amarcord is a great movie, it is an experience. If you are looking to spend two hours with a group of people you can’t go wrong with those found in Amarcord. Cherish those two hours, because as the end of the movie shows the life of this town is set to change and Fellini’s memories are about to take him out of the world of Amarcord and into the darker places that occupy some of his other work.

Rating:

****

Cheers,
Bill

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