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I Vitelloni (The Criterion Collection)
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2004
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Trapped in a timeless sphere without pressure of accomplishment, maternal love nurses five men way past their adolescence in a small tourist town by the Adriatic Sea in post-war Italy. These five men drift around dreaming of an escape from the town, but a lack of motivation keeps them prisoners at the seaside location. The mutual motivations for the five men that keeps them adrift are women, wine, and the stories they tell each other. However, each character has his own motivating factor that drives him forward in daily life.

The group of the five men consists of Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), Alberto (Alberto Sordi), Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste), Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini), and Moraldo. The group's leader Fausto, a perpetual flirter, has gotten a young beautiful woman pregnant. Fausto's father insists that he do the right thing and marry the girl before she is disgraced in public. The lazy Alberto is the groups clown who is dependent on his mother whom he will never leave. Alberto frequently pleads for money from his sister as he is continuously broke. Eventually Alberto finds out that his sister has a married lover and it angers him. Leopold an aspiring writer and the intellectual of the group dreams of fame and success. The singer Riccardo follows the group on its nightly adventures. Moraldo is a philosophical moralist that wanders the streets at night deep in thought as he sees faults in the way they all live life. However, Moraldo has not yet found the courage to leave the small seaside town.

I Vitelloni is the second film that Fellini directed by himself which he also co-wrote with his talented brother, Riccardo Fellini. Riccardo and Federico based the script on semi-autographical accounts from their home town and a life which they both were very much inclined to depict. Unlike many of Fellini's later films I Vitelloni displays some of the Italian neo-realistic cinematic qualities that were common in the period when the film was shot. The realism brings an honest and warm atmosphere to the film which emphasizes the true nature of the characters. Realism in the script allows the audience is to experience an examination of the different characters in the film. This character study brings the audience candid emotions and a brilliant cinematic experience that warms the heart as there are hopes and dreams for us all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 19, 2004
Format: DVD
I Vitelloni, released in 1953, is Federico Fellini's first commercially successful film and we are fortunate that the Criterion Collection decided to make it available on DVD in August of this year.

Moraldo, who looks to be in his mid-thirties, represents Fellini. Moraldo and four of his friends hang around a seaside town in northern Italy looking for anything interesting to do to distract them from the boredom of their wasted lives. The young men are Vitelloni, slang in Italian for loafers. All of the young men have dreams, but not much ambition. Only Moraldo will find the courage to break free of the paralysis that traps the young men in surroundings too comfortable to leave but with no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.

Fellini gives us the story of each of the five men, but more attention is paid to Fausto, a womanizer who impregnates Moraldo's sister and then is forced to marry her. Marriage is hardly an inconvenience to Fausto, who immediately cheats on his wife every chance he gets. Moraldo knows that Fausto is unfaithful, but his allegiance to his friend is greater than to his sister. Like Fellini, Moraldo is a careful observer of his surroundings, but does not criticize or judge what he sees. He appears to be somewhat detached and thoughtful. He is a good friend to have if not a protective brother to his sister.

I Vitelloni is a slice of Italian life that resonates deeply with the viewer. Fellini organizes carefully each scene and then allows his actors the freedom to bring to life the characters they represent. His confidence in his actors is repaid by superb performances from each member of his cast. For the first time we see and experience his enormous talent as a director. His next film, the great La Strada, and then later such superb films such as La Dolce Vita and Amarcord, confirm his importance as a director of the first rank.

With the release of I Vitelloni, the Criterion Collection continues to provide a valuable service for the lovers of great, classic films. Fans of Federico Fellini are sure to enjoy this first glimpse of the master at work. Highly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2004
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
A group of middle class "yoots" hang out together, bonded by common roots and experience, but also by the process of self-discovery as the onset of adulthood face them with the coming of responsibility and the isolation of individuality. The focus of this fracturing process falls on one guy who discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant. If the plot sounds familiar, well it's because coming of age is a universal experience that crosses generations and cultures, and rarely fails to to produce an intense sense of nostalgia.

What differentiates Fellini's film (beyond the fact that it pre-dates similar fair from the French New Wave, British 60's, Graffiti-Flatbush-Diner, etc. whose original accessibility make them more familiar) is simply the sheer talent of the story-teller. The man could present characters and situations that still move and enlighten us. His later, more famous epics of excess were well grounded in this same exquisite sense of humanity. This is the first excellent film by one of film's most excellent directors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2008
Format: DVD
A `vitello' is a veal calf, one year of age or less and not yet weaned. A `vitellone' is an overaged or overgrown unweaned calf - and also is slang for a young man who remains sheltered and inactive and has yet to create a real life of his own. This 1953 film is an obvious source for every subsequent movie about young men who stay in the shelter of family and neighborhood, failing to live really autonomous lives despite their pretensions, `Diner' and `Breaking Away' among them.

This film also tells us a lot about how far Italian society has come in just 8 years since Italy served as a major battlefield in World War II. Earlier Italian films like The Bicycle Thief (1948) Germania Anno Zero (1948) and La Terra Trema (1948) were about the brutal struggle for barest survival. But this film is very different: it is about the problem of options and choice, problems that do not become paramount until the society has, for many of its members, already solved the survival issue.

In La Strada (1954) Fellini returns to look at those for whom survival remains a brutal struggle. But by La Dolce Vita (1960) he is looking at the problems of alienation and anomie for a society that now creates a newly wealthy upper middle class, as did Antonioni's l'Avventura of that same year. The growing prosperity and change in Italian society can be seen in the progression from the films of 1948 to the films of 1960.

Fellini's look at Italians and Italian society is, as always, laceratingly satiric. But it is also clear that this satirist enjoys and feels a great fondness for that which he is satirizing. Like Nights of Cabiria (1957), I Vitelloni has worn very well over the years. Both of those films stand up well beside the more reknowned La Strada and La Dolce Vita. The first great Fellini film, this is a beautiful, warm and funny classic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2006
Format: DVD
I Vitelloni, Frederico Fellini's earlier movie and a winner at the Venice Film Festival, portrays five grown men who live in a coastal city who don't want to face growing up. They are adults but they don't act like adults. They spend idle time hanging out and coming home in the later night. The cad Fausto gets Miss Mermaid Sandra pregnant and he has to marry her. However this doesn't stop him from being a cad. He continues his little exploits until it gets him in trouble with the boss when he finds out that he has hit on his wife. Alberto was the comical juvenile of the group. He entertained the crowd with his antics. He was also compassionate towards his mother and his sister. When his sister leaves with her lover, both he and his mother are devastated. Looking at this part, the sister was the sole income earner and it was time for her to get a life of her own. Alberto couldn't forever rely on her for money and getting away was the best thing for her to do; even it meant running off with a married lover.

Riccardo, played by the director's brother, just sang and enjoyed the company of the men. There wasn't much centered around his character and it was for the best because the movie would've taken longer and it would have strayed from what the movie itself is about. Leopoldi, the intellectual of the group, had opportunities to leave and begin his playwriting career. But sometimes letting go can be hard to do. Your friends are your source of support. But friends can sometimes let you down. And there's Moraldo. He is the youngest one of the group. But he is the observant of the gentlemen and their actions. He has to be the one to keep them in line. Even this can be a burden on him. Especially when he sees his close friend Fausto cheat on his sister. Moraldo was more grown up than the rest of the fellows. He knew that it was his time to leave Rimini and live his own life.

This isn't my first time seeing a Fellini movie. He is an ingenuine talented director who isn't rigid. He uses imagery to express reality as he did in "Juliet of the Spirits". Don't just watch the movie itself. Watch the documentary as well. It gives you insight as to how this movie came to fruition.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2006
Format: DVD
Somewhere on his way from neo- to sur-, young Federico Fellini had made a "I Vitelloni" (1953), lighthearted, unconventional, bold, and above all entertaining film that tells the story of hopes and miseries of four friends, four young men, "I Vitelloni" in a small seashore province town. "Vitellone" means "idle young person of the provinces, often an eternal student". The title matches its characters very well. They live in the town where nothing much happens; they don't have jobs and spend the money given by their loving families. They have the most ardent hopes and they face the cruel disappointments. They are different - cynical skirt chaser Fausto who is forced to marry a girl pregnant with his baby; the intellectual and ambitious Leopoldo who dreams of becoming a famous writer; the irresponsible "big child" Alberto (Alberto Sordy, the famous comic, absolutely wonderful in his early role), and Moraldo, the only one of the group who in the final scene will leave the town of his childhood to start a new life.

I loved I Vitelloni. Nino Rota's music is above any words (as always) as well as the young director's camera work, the character study and acting. I think of "I Vitelloni" as more realistic and sober "Amarcord" in B/W. One of scenes was absolutely stunning -the carnival - the music, the dancing, the camera's rapid but fluid movements - simply breathtaking.

It is without doubt that Fellini influenced a lot of directors, and there are similarities between "I Vitelloni" and George Lucas' "American Graffiti" and Barry Levinson's "Diner". Stanley Kubrick and Marin Scorsese both named "I Vitelloni" as one of their favorite films.

Highly recommended: 9/10 (or 4.5/5)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 21, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.

"I Vitelloni" is the 2nd film by Federico Fellini that he directed by himself. It's original name in the US release was, "The Young and the Passionate."

It follows the adventures of some young men in their costal town. Each of them is facing a dilemma and tries to cope with it. One has gotten his girlfriend pregnant and her father is demanding that he marries her. The others have situations of comparable difficulty,

The DVD has some nice special features also. In addition to the theatrical trailer, there is a photo gallery of lobby cards, posters and other stills. There is also a documentary on the film's production.

This release is quite good and based in part on Fellini's own childhood. It is a release Fellini fans are sure to appreciate.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2005
Format: DVD
Fellini's most intimate and most autobiographical film. Set in his hometown of Rimini, at the Adriatic coast, it masterfully captures the spirit of place then and now. Also, it's the key work to explain the Northern Mediterrenean phenomenon of the "mamma's boys" (the said I Vitelloni from the title): the relaxed, sophisticated boys of Southern Europe who just rather do nothing (la Dolce Vita) and stay at home, often well into their 30's and 40's. The wintertime of course brings with it the tedium of provincial life in which nothing happens, but lo and behold, come next spring, the wonderful women from the North will come once again and worship the race that knows how to live and enjoys life the way it finds it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2004
Format: DVD
I was a bit mislead on this one - I had read so many reviews saying how this is early Fellini and it is one of the least 'Fellini like' of Fellini's movies. Then I actually watched it - all I saw on the screed was Federico - his personality is so strong it comes out in everything he does - and this is indeed one of my new favorites. Interestingly, this and 'White Shiek' were Orson Welles' favorite Fellini movies! I think the camera work contains something that had not been seen up to that point in neo-realism - there is something in the choice of composition that seperates Fellini here from the stately angles of Visconti, and the more static pictures of Rossellini. Surely, this is a movie to be watched by all Fellini fans - and for some reason I think it contains many elements of his later films. At times I was reminded of 'Nights of Cabiria' perhaps it was the party sequence - but it seemed more in the general style of filming. Anyway, do not be mis-lead - this is classic Fellini and is, in fact, very Fellini like!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie is one of my personal favorites of Fellini. This story is so universal even today. We all know guys like this or are/were these guys ourselves. Time Magazine just had an article about men and women in their 20's who resemble this group of friends. They don't want responsibility, don't want to get married, they just want to have fun. But at the end of the day, they want to do something with their lives. This movie shows that.

In this movie too, you start to see scenes that will reappear throughout the rest of Fellini's career. One in particular is the mambo dancing scene, which resembles the same kind of surreal quality as similar scenes in 8 1/2 and Amarcord.

All together this is an incredibly enjoyable movie, and should be a must see for any foreign movie fan. Even though this movie was made in the 1950s, its characters and situations are very relevant 50 odd years later.
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