Amarcordi is probably Fellini's best film, and at the same time an incomprehensibly bizarre excursion in paracinematographic virtuosity. Or perhaps it is he that is the sane one, and indeed cinema has nothing to do with the stage, or literature ; perhaps it is indeed comicbookery, pulp fiction, perhaps that's really all it ever was -- perhaps the continuity is just imagined, perhaps films indeed are just a succession of stills misinterpreted.
I was going to center this review on the banal historical / "toxic" fact that indeed fascism, in its original presentation, was little more and little besides the rebellion of economically worthless urban youth, despicable scum devoid of means in proportion to their lack of skill, ability, or for that matter earnest desire to do anything worth doing. Mussolini came to power on the dubious merits of the idiotic herds of lxs nixas or whatever they call themselves these days, the abundant (and abundantly clueless) pile-ups of urban fermentation, they perfectly incapable to use the abundant urban infrastructureii to their most modest benefit yet perfectly capable to lie, and misrepresent, and deflect, and avoid.iii It was the apprentice riots of 1595 except in 1925 (Italy has been behind the times for millennia), it was -- then as now -- the retarded, failed cocksuckers going about wearing masks and herpderping about how "their lives are more important than my profits" as if their lives somehow were something, lawd's mercy.
Yet this'd be a fabulous waste : all that is true, of course, but it doesn't have anymore to do with Amarcord than it has to do with curdled mooncheese. There's this woman, you see, "madre e donna" as they say, an insufferable, astringent, screechingly unbearable shitwreck of an old woman. And then, she dies. And then, the hole she leaves behind is outright palpable, Fellini somehow makes that scumbag of a dumb cunt leave a bigger hole behind her than any splendiferous hero you care to name. Nobody dies as dramatically as this naghag. I can't even explain how he does it, except for the meagre observation that he leverages silence. I've never seen anyone this good, Tornatore's made a decent career out of trying his hand on this one Fellini masterpiece, again and again. And again.
Genuinely, deeply, warmly human, though caricatures, for being caricatures. The father will be missed. You sit, in the darkness of the movie room, luscious nude woman curled beside you, her ample tits and ampler hips somehow not yours but his now, and an underscore of his point, as if he fucking owned her, not you. You sit there and you miss his father, for no reason, absolutely no reason conceivable. The man was an inconsequential, inept asshat. You never even met! There's nothing there to miss, there never was. Yet, these freehand sketches of suspended characters, seemingly drawn with no care and no craft, as distant from anything like dramatic tradition as to not even interact to one another, nevertheless signify. How ?
I do not know. The scene's not even in the film, where the lone man whose wife has died sits at the table, by himself, and there's the missing everything that ever was. Everything that ever was! No less, and entirely of the imagination. Why is it that watching the "insane" yelling for a woman from atop a tree works to make this point ? How's any of this work ?!
I do not know.———
- 1973, by Federico Fellini. [↩]
- Somebody with an idea of how Greek's supposed to sound actually got out of bed in the morning to come to a building someone else built so these fuckwads could razz instead of struggle with Greek pronunciation "because it's cooler that way". Heeerp. [↩]
- "Of course. They had to."
I'm sure you've heard it all a million times, and with the same impudent pretense to innocence that's truly the most grating thing in peasants. Survivors, you see, "they have to", you see, somehow magically immune to the only important question : what, asks the Father, about your neck makes it so valuable it shouldn't be cut ?
No, "it's there" doesn't damn well cut it, as an answer. [↩]