Fellini News Update #5

  • March 19, 2004

Depending on the time zone, 19 or 20 March marks the Vernal Equinox, one of my favorite holidays. At our house we have a tradition of celebrating the coming of spring and spiritual renewal with friends and family. Good food, wine and conversation are shared, a nice big bonfire blazes in the backyard and of course...a Fellini film!

The opening scenes of Fellini’s AMARCORD depict the coming of spring in a small provincial town in Italy during the late 1930’s, making it apropos for an equinox celebration. Early in the film the tradition of burning the “witch of winter” on the fogarazza (bonfire) is comically portrayed. This scene was the inspiration for the semi-annual celebrations we have at our house. AMARCORD is also the perfect film to introduce newcomers to Fellini.

This visually sumptuous 1974 Oscar winner is, undoubtedly, Fellini’s most popular film. Commenting on the socio-political scene in Italy during the Fascist era, Fellini’s devastatingly satirical attack is softened by the exquisitely beautiful images and a large cast of pathetic yet humorous characters. This masterful, one-two punch gives insightful meaning to Fellini's affectionate nickname, Il poeta.

The fetching score by the inimitable Nino Rota, full of sweetness and nostalgia, seems to inspire impromptu dancing upon first hearing. The Criterion Collection DVD of  AMARCORD is enhanced by the efforts of our own, Peter Bondanella and Gianfranco Angelucci, whose script provides the subtitles.

I encourage you to celebrate the memory of Fellini and his great work on this special day. Salute!