Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 25 July 2011

I Vitelloni

I VITELLONI. Fellini’s classic from 1953 is 58 years old, but emotionally is still as fresh as paint. Small towns are the same now, this is a universal story which I could see happening my own small Irish town, which I left at 18. Our 5 Vitelloni (‘Young Calves’, ‘Young Bucks’ or ‘Adolescent Slobs’) are all in their early 20s (though may look older) as they mooch around their seaside town (probably Rimini, Fellini’s hometown). Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), Alberto (Alberto Sordi), Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) and Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini) form a group of idle friends that spend their time together doing nothing but drinking, flirting and going to parties. When Fausto's girlfriend Sandra (Eleonora Ruffo) gets pregnant, he is pressed to marry her. The unlikeable Fausto cheats on her at every opportunity, even when with her at the cinema, and loses his job in the religious shop – the stealing the statute incident is amusing, as is the lengthy carnival.

It is perfect early Fellini – as accessible as AMARCORD – and the ending is affecting as Moraldo, the one we identify with most, is the only one to leave town. Sordi is ideal too for once, and the detail and incidents keep one happily absorbed. I didn’t look at my watch once. Now for that other early Federico trio: THE WHITE SHEIK, LA STRADA and CABIRIA. Nino Rota’s score is ideal too of course.

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