Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Movie a Day, Day 90: I Vitelloni

"Here's the question: Is 'I Vitelloni' the work of an artist whose vision is just flowering—or that of an artist whose vision has fully ripened and is about to decay? I can't decide," wrote Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle.

That's an interesting way to look at it, but I see Federico Fellini's career more as a sine wave than an arc or a slow and steady ripening. Whatever drew Fellini to Jungian psychology, séances, psychedelics, and circuses made some of his movies too stagily fantastic for my tastes (Satyricon), while others are bathetically sentimental (La Strada, Nights of Cabiria) or both (Juliet of the Spirits). But studded throughout his career are masterpieces like 1973's Amarcord, 1963's 8 1/2, and 1953's I Vitelloni, which use Fellini's trademark mix of realism and fantasy with restraint, evoking a time and place and state of mind with exquisite precision. Read the rest on The House Next Door, Slant Magazine's blog.

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