Amarcord is a 1973 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini, a semi-autobiographical tale about Titta, an adolescent boy growing up among an eccentric cast of characters in the village of Borgo San Giuliano (situated near the ancient walls of Rimini) in 1930s Fascist Italy. The film's title (pronounced [amarˈkɔrd]) is a univerbation of the Romagnolo phrase "a m'arcord" ("I remember"). The title then became a neologism of the Italian language, with the meaning of 'nostalgic revocation'.
Titta's sentimental education is emblematic of Italy's "lapse of conscience." Fellini skewers Mussolini's ludicrous posturings and those of a Catholic Church that "imprisoned Italians in a perpetual adolescence" by mocking himself and his fellow villagers in comic scenes that underline their incapacity to adopt genuine moral responsibility or outgrow foolish sexual fantasies.
Original movie poster, by John Alcorn
|Directed by||Federico Fellini|
|Produced by||Franco Cristaldi|
|Written by||Federico Fellini|
|Music by||Nino Rota|
|Edited by||Ruggero Mastroianni|
|Distributed by||PIC Distribuzione (IT)|
Warner Bros. (International)
A young woman hanging clothes on a line happily points out the arrival of "manine" or fluffy poplar seeds floating on the wind. The old man pottering beside her replies, "When fluff-balls come, cold winter's done." In the village square, schoolboys jump around trying to pluck puffballs out of the air. Giudizio (Aristide Caporale), the town idiot, looks into the camera and recites a poem to spring and the swirling, drifting "manine".
At the hairdresser's, a Fascist has just had his head newly shaved when Fiorella arrives to accompany her sister Gradisca (Magali Noël), the village beauty, to the traditional bonfire celebrating spring. As night falls, the inhabitants of Borgo make their way to the village square where Fellini presents his comic characters: the blind accordion player (Domenica Pertica) relentlessly tormented by schoolboys; Volpina (Josiane Tanzilli), the stringy blond nymphomaniac; the stout and buxom tobacconist (Maria Antonietta Beluzzi); Titta (Bruno Zanin), the rosy-cheeked adolescent protagonist based on Fellini's childhood friend; and Aurelio (Armando Brancia), Titta's father, a construction foreman of working-class background. Modest and reserved, Aurelio responds in frenzied anger to Titta's pranks while Miranda (Pupella Maggio), his wife, always comes to her son's defence. Miranda's brother, Lallo (Nando Orfei), lives with Titta's family, sponging off his brother-in-law. In tow are Titta's grandfather (Peppino Ianigro), a likeable old goat with an eye on the family's young maid, and a street vendor, Biscein (Gennaro Ombra), the town's inveterate liar.
Giudizio sits an effigy of the "Old Witch of Winter" in a chair on the stack and Gradisca is given the honour of setting it aflame. Lallo maliciously removes the ladder, trapping Giudizio atop the inferno. "I'm burning!" he screams as the crowd dances gaily round the bonfire and schoolboys run amuck exploding firecrackers. From a window, the Fascist bigwig (Ferruccio Brembilla) fires his pistol into the air. "I feel spring all over me already," says Gradisca in ecstasy.
The local aristocrat and his decrepit wife raise a toast to the dying flames. Schoolboys drag Volpina near the cinders then swing her back and forth in rhythm to the blind accordionist's tune. A motorcyclist roars through the glowing coals in a mindless display of exhibitionism. Black-clothed women scoop the scattered embers into pans as the town lawyer (Luigi Rossi) appears walking his bicycle. Like Giudizio, he addresses the camera to explain choice tidbits of the town's history. A florid suite of raspberries interrupts his charming pedantry and he departs in a huff.
Zeus (Franco Magno), the red-haired crusty schoolmaster, presides over an official class photograph. After showing us a wall hung with the portraits of the king, the pope and Mussolini, Fellini serves up a sequence of classroom antics involving Titta, Gigliozzi (Bruno Lenzi), Ovo (Bruno Scagnetti) and Ciccio (Fernando de Felice), the class fat boy who has a crush on Aldina (Donatella Gambini), a lovely brunette. If the schoolboys are stereotypical delinquents, their teachers are ridiculous. During her inane lessons on Giotto's perspective, the art teacher (Fides Stagni) dips a breakfast biscuit in milk. Expanding her voluptuous chest, the feral-faced maths teacher (Dina Adorni) demonstrates an algebraic formula. Clicking tongue and palate to pronounce a syllable, the Italian teacher (Mario Silvestri) is reduced to hysterics by Ovo's parody of him. Myopic religion instructor Don Balosa (Gianfilippo Carcano) wipes his glasses and drones on while half the class sneaks out for a smoke in the toilets.
"Fu Manchu!" cries Volpina, prowling on a sunburnt beach. When workers at Aurelio's construction site invite her to join them, the foreman promptly sends her off. Mortar, an old brick-maker, is asked to recite his new poem entitled Bricks:
Aurelio replies with a homily on the virtues of hard work. During dinner with his family, Aurelio explodes when news arrives that Titta urinated on the neighbour's hat. The ensuing squabble builds into a delirious domestic fit.
Titta and his gang follow Gradisca on her promenade under the arcades and, when that proves fruitless, flatten their noses against an irate merchant's shop window. Lallo and his fellow Don Juans spot a carriage-load of new prostitutes on their way to the local brothel. The news spreads like wildfire to the town's male population.
The main concerns of Don Balosa, who doubles as the town priest, are floral arrangements and making sure his schoolboys avoid masturbation. At confession he warns Titta that "Saint Louis cries when you touch yourself." Given his fantasies involving the busty tobacconist, the sensual math teacher, the fat-bottomed peasant women on bicycles, Volpina the man-eater, and Gradisca whom he tried to grope at the Cinema Fulgor, Titta complains that it can't be helped.
A dirty dust cloud announces the visit of the federale during a parade led by the local gerarca. Following behind him are the maths teacher and her colleagues, rejuvenated by Fascist rhetoric. Now in uniform, Lallo joins the parade shouting "Mussolini's got balls this big!" In a wild daydream, Ciccio stands before the giant face of Mussolini, who blesses him and his "Fascist bride", Aldina. Surreptitiously wired into the bell tower of the town church, a gramophone plays a recording of the Internationale but it is soon shot at and destroyed by gun-crazy Fascists. Owing to his anarchist past, Aurelio is brought in for questioning and forced to drink castor oil. He limps home in a nauseous state to be washed by Miranda. We discover later that it was Lallo who betrayed him.
In a series of fantasy sequences at the Grand Hotel, Gradisca is encouraged to bed the Fascist high official in return for government funds to rebuild the town's harbour while pimple-faced Biscein recounts the night he made love to twenty-eight women in the visiting sultan's harem. The Grand Hotel also provides the backdrop to Lallo's gang of mother-controlled layabouts who obsessively pursue middle-aged female tourists.
One summer afternoon, the family visits Uncle Teo (Ciccio Ingrassia), Aurelio's brother, confined to an insane asylum. They take him out for a day in the country but he escapes into a tree yelling, "Voglio una donna!" ("I want a woman!"). All attempts to bring him down are met with stones that Teo carries in his pockets. A dwarf nun and two orderlies finally arrive on the scene. Marching up the ladder, the nun reprimands Teo who obediently agrees to return to the asylum. "We are all mad at times," sighs Aurelio.
The town's inhabitants embark in small boats to meet the passage of the SS Rex, the regime's proudest technological achievement. By midnight they have fallen asleep waiting for its arrival. Awakened by a foghorn, they watch in awe as the liner sails past, capsizing their boats in its wake. Titta's grandfather wanders lost in a disorienting fog so thick it seems to smother the house and the autumnal landscape. Walking out to the Grand Hotel, Titta and his friends find it boarded up. Like zombies, they waltz on the terrace with imaginary female partners enveloped in the fog.
The annual car race provides the occasion for Titta to daydream of winning the grand prize, Gradisca. One evening the buxom tobacconist is about to close up shop when Titta tries to cadge a cigarette. She ignores him but he catches her interest by boasting that he can lift her. Daring him to try, she's aroused when he succeeds. Setting her down again, he goes to sit breathlessly in a corner as she draws the shop's iron shutter and exposes a breast, overwhelming Titta by her sheer size. The teenager's awkward efforts end with him being suffocated by the very objects of his desire. Losing all interest, she sends him away after giving him the cigarette for free.
On the cusp of winter, Titta falls sick and is tended by his mother. "This will go down as the Year of the Big Snow!" announces the lawyer peering out from behind a snow bank. As Gradisca makes her way to church in the town square, Titta follows in hot pursuit and is almost run over by the motorcyclist bombing through a labyrinth of snow. On a visit to comfort his ailing mother in hospital, she tells him that it's time he matured. A friendly snow fight breaks out between Lallo, Gradisca, and the schoolboys but is quickly interrupted by a piercing bird call. They watch mesmerized as a peacock, on the rim of a frozen fountain, shows off his magnificent tail.
Titta wakes to find the house in mourning: Miranda has died. Locking himself in his mother's bedroom, he breaks down and cries. After the funeral he walks out to the quay just as the puffballs return drifting on the wind. In a deserted field with half the village present, Gradisca celebrates her marriage to a balding pot-bellied officer. A man raises his glass and exclaims, "She's found her Gary Cooper!" Someone asks, "Where's Titta?" "Titta's gone away!" cries Ovo, as Gradisca drives off with her carabiniere to the tune of the blind accordion player.
Released in Italy on 18 December 1973, Amarcord was an "unmitigated success." Critic Giovanni Grazzini, reviewing for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, described Fellini as "an artist at his peak" and the film as the work of a mature, more refined director whose "autobiographical content shows greater insight into historical fact and the reality of a generation. Almost all of Amarcord is a macabre dance against a cheerful background".
Russell Davies, British film critic and later a BBC radio host, compared the film to the work of Thornton Wilder and Dylan Thomas: "The pattern is cyclic... A year in the life of a coastal village, with due emphasis on the seasons, and the births, marriages and deaths. It is an Our Town or Under Milk Wood of the Adriatic seaboard, concocted and displayed in the Roman film studios with the latter-day Fellini's distaste for real stone and wind and sky. The people, however, are real, and the many non-actors among them come in all the shapes and sizes one cares to imagine without plunging too deep into Tod Browning freak territory."
Rapidly picked up for international distribution after winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1975, the film was destined to be Fellini's "last major commercial success".
When Amarcord opened in New York, critic Vincent Canby lauded it as possibly "Fellini's most marvelous film... 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."
Critic Roger Ebert discussed Fellini's value as a director: "It's also absolutely breathtaking filmmaking. Fellini has ranked for a long time among the five or six greatest directors in the world, and of them all, he's the natural. Ingmar Bergman achieves his greatness through thought and soul-searching, Alfred Hitchcock built his films with meticulous craftsmanship, and Luis Buñuel used his fetishes and fantasies to construct barbed jokes about humanity. But Fellini... well, moviemaking for him seems almost effortless, like breathing, and he can orchestrate the most complicated scenes with purity and ease. He's the Willie Mays of movies." Jay Cocks of Time Magazine considered it "some of the finest work Fellini has ever done - which also means it stands with the best that anyone in film has ever achieved."
Amarcord currently holds a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Ribald, sweet, and sentimental, Amarcord is a larger-than-life journey through a seaside village and its colorful citizens."
In 1984, Amarcord became the first film released for home video fully letterboxed, as implemented by RCA for their Capacitance Electronic Disc videodisc format. The film was later released on DVD twice by the Criterion Collection, first in 1998, then re-released in 2006 with an anamorphic widescreen transfer and additional supplements. Criterion re-issued the 2006 release on Blu-ray Disc in 2011.
The 27th Cannes Film Festival was held from 9 to 24 May 1974. The Grand Prix du Festival International du Film went to The Conversation by Francis Ford Coppola.The festival opened with Amarcord, directed by Federico Fellini and closed with S*P*Y*S, directed by Irvin Kershner.1974 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
The 40th New York Film Critics Circle Awards, 26 January 1975, honored the best filmmaking of 1974.Alvaro Vitali
Alvaro Vitali (Italian pronunciation: [alˈvaːro viˈtaːli]; born 3 February 1950) is an Italian actor.
He was an electrician until he was discovered by Federico Fellini and played a small part in Satyricon (1969), it led to other roles, notably in the movie Amarcord (1973), becoming the only actor in the world who participated in four Fellini films.
In the 1970s, Vitali became one of the most charismatic actors in the commedia erotica all'italiana (erotic comedy) genre. He was very popular in Spain as well. He recently worked for the satirical TV show Striscia la notizia in a parody of Ferrari manager Jean Todt.Amarcord (ensemble)
amarcord is a German male classical vocal ensemble based in Leipzig, founded in 1992 by five former members of the Thomanerchor. They primarily perform Medieval music, Renaissance music as well as collaborating with contemporary composers. Until 2013, the group's name was ensemble amarcord.Amarcord Brewery
Amarcord Brewery (Birra Amarcord), is a brewing company, founded in Rimini in Emilia Romagna, Italy in 1997. Although the registered office is in Rimini, their brewery is located in Apecchio.Amarcord Nino Rota
Amarcord Nino Rota is an album by various artists, recorded as a tribute to composer Nino Rota.Carlo Savina
Carlo Savina (2 August 1919 - 23 June 2002) was an Italian composer and conductor who composed, arranged, and conducted music for films-and is especially remembered for being the music director of films such as The Godfather (1972), Amarcord (1973), and The Bear (1988).
Savina worked with many of the notable film score composers of the 20th century including: Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovajoli, Nino Rota, Mario Nascimbene, Stanley Myers, Stephen Sondheim, Philippe Sarde, and Miklos Rozsa. His work ranged from composing music for frequent spaghetti westerns such as Johnny Oro to being the musical director and conductor in Federico Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal.In 1985 he won the David di Donatello Best Music award for the film score of Pizza Connection.Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (Italian: [fedeˈriːko felˈliːni]; 20 January 1920 – 31 October 1993) was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. His films have ranked, in polls such as Cahiers du cinéma and Sight & Sound, as some of the greatest films of all time. Sight & Sound lists his 1963 film 8½ as the 10th-greatest film of all time.
In a career spanning almost fifty years, Fellini won the Palme d'Or for La Dolce Vita, was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film, the most for any director in the history of the Academy. At the 65th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, he received an honorary award for Lifetime Achievement. Besides La Dolce Vita and 8½, his other well-known films include La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits, Satyricon, Amarcord and Fellini's Casanova.Hal Willner
Hal Willner (born 1956) is an American music producer working in recording, films, TV and live events. He is best known for assembling tribute albums and events featuring a wide variety of artists and musical styles (jazz, classical, rock, Tin Pan Alley). His first tribute album was Amarcord Nino Rota in 1981.In the late 1970s he worked under record producer Joel Dorn, credited as Associate Producer on Leon Redbone's albums Double Time and Champagne Charlie, and The Neville Brothers' Fiyo on the Bayou. Willner has been the sketch music producer of Saturday Night Live since 1981. He was also a producer of the TV program Sunday Night hosted by David Sanborn.
Willner has produced albums for Marianne Faithfull, Lou Reed, Bill Frisell, William S. Burroughs, Gavin Friday, Lucinda Williams, Laurie Anderson and Allen Ginsberg, among others. He produced a live tribute concert to Tim Buckley, that ultimately launched the career of Tim's son Jeff. He has released one album under his own name: Whoops, I'm an Indian, which featured audio samples from 78 rpm records from the early-mid 20th century.
Following earlier stagings (see list below), in January 2010 Willner produced his pirate-themed concert event Rogue's Gallery for the Sydney Festival. The multinational cast included Marianne Faithfull, Todd Rundgren, Tim Robbins, Gavin Friday, Peter Garrett, Baby Gramps, David Thomas, Sarah Blasko, Katy Steele, Peaches, Glenn Richards, Liam Finn, Camille O'Sullivan, Kami Thompson and Marry Waterson.List of Italian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Italy has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since the conception of the award. The award is handed out annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was not created until 1956; however, between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented Honorary Awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. These awards were not competitive, as there were no nominees but simply a winner every year that was voted on by the Board of Governors of the Academy. Three Italian films received Honorary Awards during this period. For the 1956 Academy Awards, a competitive Academy Award of Merit, known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, was created for non-English speaking films, and has been given annually since.As of 2018, thirty-one Italian films have been nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and fourteen films have won the award. Among all countries that have submitted films for the award, Italy ranks first in terms of films that have won the award, followed by France (nine awards) and Spain (four awards), and second in terms of nominees, behind France (thirty-four nominations) and ahead of Spain (nineteen nominations). The only Italian directors to win multiple awards are Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica. Fellini received four awards for La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, 8½, and Amarcord, the most in the history of the Academy, and had three other films submitted, although none of them were accepted as nominees. De Sica received two Honorary Awards prior to the conception of the formal award for Shoeshine and The Bicycle Thief and two actual Academy Awards for Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and had one other film, Marriage Italian-Style, accepted as a nominee.List of submissions to the 47th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
The following 19 films, all from different countries, were submitted for the 47th Academy Awards in the category Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film which took place in 1975. The highlighted titles were the five nominated films, which came from Argentina, France, Hungary, Italy and Poland. Italy won the Oscar for Federico Fellini's slice-of-life comedy-drama, Amarcord.The USSR selected a film from the Kyrgyz Republic (with mostly Russian dialogue).
Japan submitted The Fossil, but the film was not listed on the official list from AMPAS. It appears likely that the film was not screened.Maria Antonietta Beluzzi
Maria Antonietta Beluzzi (26 July 1930 – 9 August 1997) was an Italian actress who appeared in a number of films in her native country. She is probably best known as the large and huge-breasted tobacconist in Federico Fellini's Amarcord, whose sexual arousal by the male teenager protagonist ends with ironic results. This casting occurred ten years after Fellini first cast her in an uncredited role (as a screen test candidate for La Saraghina) in 8½.
In a minor plot point, her performance in Amarcord is discussed fondly by the characters in John Irving's Until I Find You (2005).Martin Lattke
Martin Lattke (born 29 May 1981) is a German tenor, performing as a soloist and former member of the ensemble amarcord.National Board of Review Awards 1974
The 46th National Board of Review Awards were announced on December 25, 1974.Nino Rota discography
Below is a selected discography for Nino Rota (1911–1979). He was a prolific composer; there are a great many recordings of all of his music—both popular and classical; and it would be impossible to list all of them. Indeed, there are new performances and recordings of Rota's music being made to this day.Nino Rota is best known for his many film scores—in particular for the seminal Fellini films La Strada (1954), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8 1/2 (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), and Amarcord (1974). He also wrote the scores for Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968), Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II. For Fellini alone, Rota produced almost 80 film scores starting with The White Sheik in 1952 and ending with the unfairly forgotten Orchestra Rehearsal in 1979, the year of the composer's death.
Rota's film scores were a great commercial success. The soundtrack album of Romeo and Juliet, with combined dialogue and music, reached number two and spent 74 weeks on the Billboard charts. The theme song for La Strada sold more than two million copies in Italy alone.The film scores won many awards. For example, the score for The Godfather was nominated for an Oscar, won a British Academy Film Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Grammy.Less well known is the fact that Rota was a prolific composer of chamber music, operas, and orchestral pieces. In all he produced four symphonies, twelve operas, five ballets, three piano concertos, three cello concertos, various choral works, and dozens of chamber works—the best known being his Concerto for Strings.Ruggero Mastroianni
Ruggero Mastroianni (7 November 1929 – 9 September 1996) was an Italian film editor; critic Tony Sloman has called him "arguably, the finest Italian film editor of his generation."Born in Turin, he was the brother of the actor Marcello Mastroianni and nephew of the sculptor Umberto Mastroianni. He had a notable collaboration with director Federico Fellini, whose films he edited for over twenty years; their work includes Giulietta degli spiriti (1965), Amarcord (1973), and Ginger and Fred (1986). He had a similarly notable collaboration with director Luchino Visconti in films like Le Notti Bianche (1957), Morte a Venezia (1971) , Ludwig (1972) and Gruppo di Famiglia in un Interno (1974). He also edited the 1974 absurdist western comedy Don't Touch The White Woman!.
He won 5 David di Donatello Awards and 1 Nastro d'Argento as Best Editor.
With his brother, who acted the part of Scipione l'Africano, he acted the part of Scipione l'Asiatico in the film Scipione detto anche l'Africano by Luigi Magni.
Ruggero Mastroianni died in Torvaianica, near Rome, in 1996.The Deluge (film)
The Deluge (Polish: Potop) is a 1974 Polish historical drama film directed by Jerzy Hoffman. The film is based on the 1886 novel of the same name by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 47th Academy Awards, but lost to Amarcord. The film is the third most popular in the history of Polish cinema, with more than 27.6 million tickets sold in its native country by 1987. Further 30.5 million were sold in the Soviet Union.Wolfgang Katschner
Wolfgang Katschner (born 1961 in Kyritz) is a German lutenist and conductor. He is director of the ensembles Capella Angelica and Lautten Compagney which specialise in Baroque music—notably the operas of Handel.Katschner studied guitar at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin and lute at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Frankfurt am Main.
The Lautten Compagney won the Rheingau Music Prize in 2012. In 2013 they played the annual Marienvesper of the Rheingau Musik Festival at Eberbach Abbey, Monteverdi's Vespers with the ensemble amarcord and five guest singers.Katschner also directed the Philip Glass Ensemble and the Lautten Compagney for several recordings of compositions by Philip Glass.
Awards for Amarcord