The village is the real protagonist and we see it as Fellini remembers it. The school principal and the sisuda figures who follow him, represent the tradition. The repression of the free spirit of the young, in the shadow of a repressive political regime.
Gradisca (Magali Noël) and her companions represent the beauty and the desire, while they parade of red through the streets of the village. The owner of the tobacco shop, voluptuous and provocative, to populate the imaginary of the boys. The traditional and conventional family of Titta explains to us how a real Italian family is, extensive, noisy, affectionate.
Instead of a continuous narrative, Fellini places these characters at the service of the pictures he intends to tell. So are the scenes of "Amarcord": rich in detail, with stories that begin and end right there and with a caricatureistic intensity and comedy. Each scene has such cohesion that it exists outside the narrative of the film and all are independent of the rest, as if they were an episode of a series.
In the bonfire scene, the characters who populate the village are not mere extras to fill that picture, but they play a role in the story and it would be possible to zoom in on any of them to get to explore that piece of narrative. Already in the scene where the family of Titta makes a family lunch in the field, it seems completely arbitrary that one knew of an uncle – the uncle Teo – that is interned in an insane asylum. Shortly after, when Teo climbs to a tree promising only to descend when they take a woman to him, the plot is justified by the humorous effect.
Our memories of childhood are a mixture of reality and what we think happened. Fellini too will have succumbed to this science of oblivion. For "Amarcord," he sought out his memories, wrapped them in the fabric of dreams, and produced a realistic fantasy. Not everything will have happened as it shows us, and sometimes what shows us is even an action shrouded in fog, as in the scene where some people dance alone in the streets.
And because the music packs so much life as the dreams that allow us to abstract from it, Fellini also wanted to have here an engaging soundtrack and handed it to Nino Rota.
Scenes like the fight in the snow want to enhance the beauty of Rimini. Fellini means there's something there. In the middle of the snow, in which Rimini is covered by a white robe, a peacock flies to the square where the boys tease Gradisca and open his fan-colored tail, in the silence that replaces the commotion of the joke.
Much will not correspond to Fellini's childhood in Rimini. But nostalgia is there. As a tribute to the village that saw him born, the director makes the village a rich theater stage. And he invites us in because, after all, we all remember our childhood, whether memories are clear as water or fogged by the haze of forgetfulness.
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