65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of Fellini
Fellini's theme of coming of age memoir works as a beautiful nostalgic piece. The film resonates from an earlier film of his 8 1/2 showing the director's flashes to his seaside hometown. I've watched this film several times and on every occassion find something new. Here's a tip to enjoy watching a foreign film - Do NOT watch the English dubbed version if there is any...
Published on August 26, 2000 by Miko
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fellini is some sort of genius
My Italian professor recently told me that Fellini's Amarcord is not just film, it is a national pastime and treasure. After watching the film, Amarcord represents everything that is good and bad about Italians in the 1930s. Amarcord realistically, and with a humourous tone depicts Fellini's childhood under Fascist Italy. Perhaps his most...
Published on March 7, 2005 by M. E. Pincus
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The magic of Fellini,
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being Oneself:Always an Act of Creation in Amarcord,
This review is from: Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)The theme of this story is the compassion that allows close-knit, small-town Italians in the 1930's to lead a meaningful existence in the context of Fascist oppression and economic hardship.
This story is culturally valuable because it shows the beauty of meaningfully existing, unchanged, amid destructive and oppressive forces. When a peacock lands in the snow with its beautiful, vibrant blue and green feathers, it exemplifies beauty, simply existing, within harsh conditions. The point of the story is not that the characters of this small Italian town make any world-altering advances, but rather that they maintain what they already have and admire--their sense of community and individual compassion--despite oppressive odds. Fellini gives his audience mischievous adolescents, oblivious teachers, a "crazy" uncle, a humorous grandfather, an idealistic and extremely feminine beauty, a generous but sickly mother and her easily-angered husband, dissatisfied workers, a story-telling lawyer, a prince, and a lying snack vendor. And none of these characters is ever treated inhumanely, or as being of any less value than any other. The uncle has an episode in which he climbs a tree and throws rocks at people who try to get him down, all the while yelling, "I want a woman!" Hours pass and the doctor who eventually comes to get him down remarks, "He has normal days, and he has not normal days...Just like us." Through the interaction of these characters, Fellini allows his audiences to encounter a town, the families, a community, and the simple life that exists within it. This film is powerful because it is saying that one does not have to defeat oppression to be worthy of being a model, seen and honored. You have only to live, to be yourself--which means to create--to be something powerful and moving.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellini's Other Deeply Personal Extraordinary Film,
Through the retelling of emotional stories that deal with Titta and his family, Amarcord (which translates into "I Remember") presents a cyclical collage of wondrous nostalgia for the Italy of Fellini's childhood. Starting in the spring and ending their one year later with the return of the yearly "puffballs", we are presented with and touched by the many experiences that Titta comes face to face with.
At the same time, the film is much more than a mere visual presentation of Fellini's own nostalgia, for it also questions the true validity of one's own memories. This questioning of memory by Fellini is made apparent in the manner in which single scenes can go from "reality" based to fantasy-like parody back to "reality" based in a manner of moments.
One of the more noteworthy examples of this technique is the scene in which El Duce visits the local town square. In the scene the serious yet joyous procession of El Duce eventually turns into a comedic/fantasy experience in which schoolchildren are shown happily carrying guns in the imagined wedding of two schoolchildren in front of a giant talking Mussolini head. Moments later the film cuts to nightfall, in which the local Fascists soldiers wreak havoc on the town and afterwards interrogate and beat Titta's father. Depending on Fellini's own presentation of the Italian Fascists, (and just as importantly, the view in Italy towards the Fascists at that time) very different interpretations can be read of them. In using such a juxtaposition, Fellini (in his echoing of Arnheim's formalist theory) is purposely trying to express the impossibility of remembering and re-presenting a true account of the past as a result of the individual nature of memory itself.
Another scene that blurs the real and the imagined is Titta's late-night encounter with a large busty Tobacconist (she is given no true name within the film) just as she has closed up her shop. The woman, who Titta has fantasized about at an earlier point in the film, playfully flirts with Titta, a flirtation that eventually ends in a moment of extreme foreplay between the two. But the inexperienced Titta is unable to please the tobacconist, and she soon forces him to stop. At this time she acts as if nothing has happened, she gives him his tobacco and shows him out the store. How much of this was real, and how much of this was imagined both within the film and with regard to Fellini's own experiences? As is the case with many of the other sequences in the film, the answer is left up to the viewer.
Amarcord is thus not so much about reconstructing mirror images of the past, but rather more about how we would like to, and thus do, remember the past through our own distorted points of view. Andrei Tarkovsky deals with very similar themes in his film Mirror, albeit in a manner that is much less entertaining than Amarcord, which was released shortly after Amarcord.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2006 Criterion Version = the most beautiful packaging of a single film I have ever seen!,
This review is from: Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)Seriously I'm a huge Fellini fan and Love "Amarcord"! I am so impressed with the treatment Criterion gave this film. It is definitly worth the money for this magnificent package! From the vibrant and warm painted scenes on the box to the incredible bound book that comes in the box! Bravo Criterion seriously the best package I have seen thus far from Criterion. Amazing!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: A vibrant, beautiful, hilarious and marvelous masterpiece from Federico Fellini.,
This review is from: Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)Federico Fellini, the legendary Italian filmmaker and screenwriter known for cinema masterpieces such as "The White Sheik" (1952), "I Vitelloni" (1953), "La Strada" (1954), "Nights of Cabiria" (1957),"La Dolce Vita" (1960), "8 1/2' (1963), etc.
Fellini's films are known for capturing ethereal storylines, fantasy that binges on desire and his films are among those that have tested viewers but also has provided many cineaste with visual delight from the films that are from his oeuvre. His influence has inspired Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Pedro Almodovar to name a few and while many think of "La Dolce Vita", "8 1/2', "I Vitelloni" as the top of Fellini's career, there are many who feel that "Amarcord" is one of his most personal. "Amarcord" is also the third film for Fellini that won an Oscar for "Best Foreign Film" but also won multiple awards throughout the world and is perhaps one of his most accessible film for cinema fans worldwide.
The film was the fourth DVD release for The Criterion Collection back in 1999 and received a special re-release featuring more special features in 2006. In 2011, a Blu-ray release of "Amarcord" including the special features from the 2006 DVD release is now available in the U.S.
While not an autobiography, the film mirrors Fellini's life as a child and teenager growing up in Rimini, Italy (a seaside town in the province of Emilia-Romagna) during the time of Fascist Italy.
"Amarcord" is not the easiest film to describe because it's one of those films that must be experienced. The film can be seen as a coming-of-age film but also a film that has your typical villagers that everyone knows their name because of their actions or their body. The carnivalesque film focuses on various people of the village throughout the year during the 1930's and the various episodes that transpire within a year's time.
"Amarcord" (which means "I remember" in Romagnolo) takes place in a village which has welcomed the spring time courtesy of the puffballs that float in the air. Everyone welcomes the end of Winter and a man named Giudizio (played by Aristide Caporale), looks into the camera and recites a poem.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to the beautiful Gradisca (played by Magali Noel). A woman known for her body and clothing that accentuates her posterior which many of the men and even teenage boys from the village have always taken notice.
In this village, we are introduced to characters such as the prostitute and nymphomaniac named Voplina (played by Josiane Tanzilli), the blind accordion player (played by Domenica Pertica), the heavy set and enormously well-endowed tobacconist (played by Maria Antonietta Beluzzi) and the family members of which "Amacord" focuses on, the Biondi family. Aurelio Biondi (played by Armando Brancia) is the hot-headed father who always gets upset with his teenage son Titta Biondi (played by Bruno Zanin).
While Titta gets in trouble most of the time, his mother Miranda (played by Pupella Maggio) is always ready to argue with Aurelio. Other members of the family include Titta's younger brother Oliva (played by Stefano Proietti), his grandfather (played by Giuseppe Ianigro) who may look old but can easily remember the ages when he and others had sex and Miranda's brother Lallo (played by Nando Orfei) and his wife who live at the house. Needless to say, because of Aurelio's hot temper and Titta's mischievous nature, there is never a quiet moment at the house.
When the camera is focused on the teenager Titta, we learn how he and his friends love to get in trouble. From picking on people, to finding ways to upset their teachers and at times, making fun of their own friends during class. But these teenagers have one thing in common and that is the fact they are horny teenagers who love to look at a woman's ass (and also enjoy pleasuring themselves to release their sexual tension). For Titta, he just loves to look at Gradisca's body whenever she is walking by and one day hopes, he can try to make a move on her.
As for Aurelio, he is anti-fascist. Because of his hot-head, his wife Miranda does all she can to prevent him from getting in trouble, this includes locking the gates of their home to keep him inside. He can't help but always argue with Titta who loves to get his father upset. But still, Aurelio takes care of his family.
Gradisca, is the popular single woman in the village. She dreams of having someone to love and someone to love her right back. She embodies confidence and knows that men and boys love to look at her when she and her friends are walking around. And she knows with the fascists coming to town, this is her chance to find a husband.
The film shows us how life is in the village for these characters and everyone around them for the whole year. Featuring many short scenes may it be Titta and his friends going to school, getting in trouble, looking at beautiful women to Gradisca trying to find "Mr. Right", "Amarcord" is a collection of events with no real storyline but experiences from Fellini's life and also his imagination.
"Amarcord" is presented in color (1:85:1 aspect ratio). I have compared the 2011 Blu-ray release and the 2006 DVD release and the colors are much more vibrant compared to its DVD counterpart. More detail of the walls and surroundings of the city can be seen quite clearly on Blu-ray. As well as the grime on the faces of characters like Volpina, the stained shirts of Titta and the hairy back of Aurelio. These are much more evident on Blu-ray versus watching it on DVD. There is a good amount of grain that can be seen on the Blu-ray release and for the most part, for fans of the film, watching it on HD is definitely worth the upgrade.
According to the Criterion Collection, the HD transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from a 35mm interpositive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean sytem, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain and noise reduction.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Amarcord" is presented in its original Italian uncompressed monaural plus an optional English dubbed soundtrack. Dialogue and music is clear and understandable. I didn't notice any clicks, pops or hiss during the Italian soundtrack. As for the English dubbed soundtrack, while I try to stay away from dubbed soundtracks, I will have to give a nod for those that worked on it as they tried to match the voices with the lips and some of acting of the voice actors were well-done but some of the voice acting was not too my liking. Needless to say, I preferred the original Italian soundtrack much more.
According to the Criterion Collection, the monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from a 35mm magnetic soundtrack. Clicks, thumps, hiss and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated audio workstation.
Subtitles are in English SDH.
"Amarcord - The Criterion Collection #4' on Blu-ray comes with the following special features:
* Audio Commentary - Audio commentary by film scholars Peter Brunette (from Wake Forest) and Frank Burke (from Queen's college, Ontario and author of "Fellini's Films").
* Fellini's Homecoming - (44:15) A fantastic 45-minute documentary on the complicated relationship between the celebrated director, his hometown of Remini and his past. Fellini's friends chime in on the characters of "Amarcord" and who they were modeled after.
* Magali NoŽl - (15:11) Video interview with star Magali NoŽl (who plays Gradisca).
* Fellini's Drawings - Federico Fellini's drawings of characters in the film and showcasing the sketches for "Amarcord". Using your remote, you can cycle through the various images.
* Felliniana - A presentation of ephemera devoted to "Amarcord" from the collection of Don Young. Featuring stills and radio ads (about 3 minutes). Use your remote to cycle through the stills from the film.
* Gideon Bachman Interviews - Archival audio interviews with Fellini and his friends and family, by longtime radio film critic Gideon Bachmann. Audio interview with Fedrico Fellini (30:39), audio interview with friends and family (58:59). Featuring photos of Fellini throughout his life.
* Restoration Demonstration - (5:25) The restoration demonstration was included with the 2006 DVD re-release of "Amarcord" and is the same restoration used for the Blu-ray release.
* Deleted scene - (3:03) A deleted scene featuring Contessa's distraught after losing a diamond ring down her toilet. Carlini tries to retrieve it.
* Trailer - (3:46) The American release trailer.
Included is a 66-page booklet featuring "Federico of the Spirits" by Sam Rohdie and "My Rimini" by Fedrico Fellini.
"Amarcord" is a film that has so many moments, memories and each of these scenes are full of humor that the film is well-crafted and is able to escape from the contrived, mediocrity or the banality of modern films.
There are so many Fellini films that I have watched in my lifetime and thanks to the Criterion Collection, for us in America, we are fortunate to have access to a good number of his films. But among his masterpieces, there are a few of his films that I tend to rewatch many times and "Amarcord" is one of them.
"Amarcord" is a film that captures everything beautiful, everything ugly, everything about life and what people see day-to-day. And I can imagine for Fellini, although "Amarcord" is not an exact autobiography nor was it intended to be, it is paying homage to what he experienced throughout his younger years and the people he came in contact with.
What makes "Amarcord" so intriguing, and so fun without the cinema banality that one would be used to seeing, is that we are given a taste of episodes of these villagers and the way its put together, you find yourself as a voyeur of these moments in the lives of these individuals that live in a small village. There is no real plot line, but it's a film that features so many of the fun moments that life has to offer that makes "Amarcord" so delightful.
From moments when the Biondi family goes to pick up their Uncle Teo from the mental hospital and the uncle runs up to the tree not wanting to get down and starts screaming of how he wants a woman. Anyone who dares to get him down is pelted with fruit. Another scene features Titta and his friends at a parade and celebration for Benito Mussolini aka "Il Duce" and each have their own daydreams of being with a woman. Or a scene where we watch as Gradisca tries to prepare for a romantic night with a man or when Titta goes to the cinema to pull some of his moves on Gradisca and to see what happens. Or possibly one of the most memorable scenes is when Titta goes to the big but very busty tobacco saleswoman and manages to experience a woman's breast, it's just how its featured on screen, you can't help but laugh as the young character is not sure what to do and all the woman can tell him "Suck, no blow!".
But what also works is how the art direction of the film helps to give us that feeling of carnivalesque characters. Danilo Donati's awesome costume and production design, Giorgio Giovannini's surrealistic art direction is fantastic and of course, the cinematography by Giuseppe Rotunno is magnificent. While the writing is not overly polemic, Fellini and Tonino Guerra did a great job of interjecting the sex and politics that are a strong part of the enjoyment of this film.
All the primary characters and supporting characters also add to the enjoyment of the film. To sum it up, "Amarcord" is a true masterpiece from Fellini!
And I can go on and on about the positives of this film but still not be able to describe it because frankly, I don't want to spoil anything for the viewer. Also, as mentioned earlier, this is not one of those films that I can easily describe. It's probably best to say that it's various episodes that happen in a village over a year's time and keep it at that.
Clearly, "Amarcord" is one of those films that a cinema fan must watch and experience. And I have to say that when The Criterion Collection released the 2006 DVD, I felt that this was one of the best DVD's released from the company. The way it was treated and given special features galore, lengthy and enjoyable, but most of all informative. And now this film has been given its HD treatment which I found to be quite a gorgeous upgrade from the original 2006 DVD release. The detail of the village surroundings, the details that are more apparent on the characters, "Amarcord" looks very good on Blu-ray!
And if you haven't owned the 2006 DVD release (or even its original 1999) DVD release, this is one Fellini film (and I can easily vouch for nearly all Fellini films on the Criterion Collection) that is definitely worth owning.
I'm constantly asked if it's like "8 1/2' or "La Strada" and the only thing that I can tell people is forget about those films. Just enjoy this one and experience it!
And then when you are done, watch the documentary "Fellini's Homecoming" afterward as you get to know the true story behind "Amarcord" and the complicated relationship that Fellini had with his hometown of Rimini. And you get plenty of special features which include audio commentary, interviews, radio interviews and also included is a wonderful 66-page booklet (same contents from the 2006 release) which include Fellini's essay "My Rimini", a collection of reminisces from the filmmaker when he was laying in a hospital bed (thinking he was going to die) and was being treated by his doctor from his hometown of Rimini.
This latest release of "Amarcord", aside from being a Fellini masterpiece is literally a grand slam for the Criterion Collection. It's one of the most complete Blu-rays released with special features that matter and definitely enhances ones appreciation for the film.
For those who own the wonderful 2006 Criterion Collection re-release on DVD and wonder if the new Blu-ray is worth the upgrade, my answer is yes! The film looks great on Blu-ray but if you are watching it on a TV that doesn't have 1080p capability and you are used to watching movies on your laptop or TV, then probably not but if you are planning to upgrade your equipment or have the equipment to watch films in HD, then most definitely. There is no major difference in the amount of special features between the 2011 Blu-ray release and the 2006 DVD re-release aside from PQ and AQ differences. So, if you have the equipment to enjoy "Amarcord" in HD, then yes... I highly recommend upgrading from DVD to Blu-ray as this film looks absolutely beautiful in HD.
Overall, "Amarcord" is a vibrant, beautiful, hilarious and marvelous masterpiece from Federico Fellini. The Blu-ray release of "Amarcord" from the Criterion Collection is a must-own for your cinema collection! Highly recommended. A+
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember,
Here's the confession-this is the Fellini film closest to my heart. I know we're supposed to like 8 1/2 better, or even La Dolce Vita, but Amarcord has all the bitter sweet quality of a memory told by a good friend and great storyteller, intimately, over a glass of red wine.
Hear the one about the about the old, irascible Grampa? Gramps stepped out of the house and got lost in the fog...just steps away from the front gate. Frightened and disoriented, Gramps wonders if he is alive or if he has passed over into death. Suddenly, he stops and gives a rude gesture to death, and claims, "If this is death, I don't think much of it."
Hear the one about Uncle in the looney bin? Took him out for a ride in the country, and he peed his pants. Just forgot to unzip! Then, at the farm, he climbed a tree and threw rocks at people, staying up there all day, screaming, "I want a woman!" It took a miniature nun from the asylum to get him down.
There are so many scenes of such distilled beauty, it is as if Fellini had boiled down the sauce until only the most precious elixir was left-that which was a distillation of his own life, most potent, most true.
The town beauty, the town historian, the town idiot, the town "playboy" (loser) the mother, the father, the govenment, Mussolini, Fascism, the sea, the prostitute, the boys, the fantasies of the boys, the church, the snow, the rain, the fog. I love this film truly.
The boys dancing in dreams in the fog. The empty grand hotel. Grandisca's wedding. The father biting the hat that had been pissed on. Tita and the cigarette shop lady. (Ohmigosh, you have to buy the film for that scene, alone!!!)
My crazy beloved Fellini! Dear friends, you must have this film.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellini's greatest accomplishment,
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another wonderful Fellini movie!,
I agree with some people posting that the flatulence jokes and poor dialog took away from the movie. However, if you are telling a story from the point of view of a young teenage boy, then perhaps making fart jokes with your friends and being obsessed with sex is part of that experience.
Like Fellini's other films though, I found this movie to be very engaging. His technique is simply masterful!
My favorite scene in this movie was the one that takes place in the fog. A deep fog has rolled in and the evening is very quiet. The grandfather is beginning to wonder if he has died. He's experiencing confusion and he is having trouble finding the thing most familiar to him: his home. He only becomes re-oriented when he asks directions from a dark figure who is bicycling in the fog--a man who appears to have almost no head as he returns to the deeper part of the fog again.
The grandfather opens the gate to the family home and he sees his grandson leaving for school. As the boy walks along, the trees appear distorted and twisted, like witnesses to some awful destruction. A seemingly 'phantom' convoy truck with soldiers in the back passes by, perhaps foreshadowing events in the boy's own life just years ahead. Then, the scene becomes even more silent and the silhouette of a large bull becomes recognizable in the fog. Upon seeing the bull, which is looking at him dead center, the boy halts and very slowly takes a few steps backward. He freezes, and his profile begins to shrink, as you see this overwhelming sense of fear and helplessness on his face. To me, this scene appears as a disturbing prophetic vision of what was lying just around the corner for Italy and the rest of Europe.
It's powerful scenes like this and the attention that Fellini puts into them, that makes his movies so wonderful to watch.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous edition,
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This review is from: Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)Fellini's Amarcord always ranks among the best 100 films in any critic's list, and rightfully. It is middle of the way between his realistic films and his most symbolic ones, that is why I think it can be available for all audiences. It's a beautiful color film.
The most important thing to say about Amarcord is that it is funny, in a mild way, not critical, not hateful, just detached.
It's characters are re-created after Fellini's cartoons, or stereotypes (some based on real characters in Rimini), some comlpetely imaginary, all most funny and entertaining.
Exceptional package by Criterion.
Recommended as an exceptional example of the best European cinema.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories of a Genius.,
This review is from: Amarcord [VHS] (VHS Tape)Director Federico Fellini was undoubtedly a film maker genius!
Since his earlier works "La Strada" (1954) and "La Dolce Vita" (1960) thru "Fellini Satyricon" (1969) and "Amarcord" (1973) till his lasts "Ginger and Fred" (1986) and "The Voice of the Moon" (1990) he has left a legacy treasure for film lovers and film makers.
Most of his films combine fantasy and reality in a rich mixture with no fixed boundaries. He displays his own personal conflicts in regard to religious belief; sex and love; youngsters' education; political and religious power; richness and poverty; all this themes and more are shown with a visceral approach.
The viewer will be attracted and repelled alternatively and at the end of each of his movies will go out of the theater (or the bed room or living-room) knowing that he/she has assisted to the show of a unique piece of art.
"Amarcord" shows the memories of life as it was in `30s Italy. The story encompass one year in the life of young Titta and his family. Is a coming of age tale where sex and infatuation play a major role. It also shows how confusing to a young mind are some social messages. Mussolini appears in a fantasy scene adorned with all the attributes of a demigod and in the next scene reality explodes in the form of a band of fascist thugs harassing Titta's relatives.
Photography and music score are outstanding.
The film collected numerous awards including Foreign Film Oscar.
A marvelous film to see! Just a last warning some scenes may be inconvenient for young audiences.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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Amarcord (The Criterion Collection) by Federico Fellini (DVD - 2006)