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Amarcord

Directed by Federico Fellini.
With Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio.
Italy/France, 1973, DCP, color, 123 min.
Italian with English subtitles.

In an oeuvre teeming with transparent incursions into its maker’s autobiography, Amarcord stands out as Fellini’s most nakedly personal. Having only returned to his birthplace sporadically for much of his life since leaving the town as a young man, Fellini made this buoyant family diary film without embarking on any research trips, opting instead to highlight the constructive nature of memory. Shot largely at Cinecittà, with some sojourns to the Adriatic shores, Amarcord reconstructs Rimini through domestic and community vignettes, early creative epiphanies, and sexual awakenings, all captured with an impressionism balanced on a knife’s edge between sentimental glee and wistful melancholy. Among the panoply of eccentrics are Titta (Bruno Zanin), an impressionable pre-teen; Aurelio (Armando Brancia), his brash father; Miranda (Pupella Maggio), his nurturing mother; Gradisca (Magali Noël), the elegant object of all male desire; Volpina (Josiane Tanzilli), the town’s wild-eyed prostitute; and Baravelli (Gianfilippo Carcano), the local priest who seems all too fascinated with Titta and his schoolmates’ private fantasies. Lifted by one of Nino Rota’s most memorable scores, Amarcord relishes in the delights of a childhood spent in the shadow of fascism and religious dogma.

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