Why isn’t there already a Hollywood remake of this? Seems like the perfect convoluted rom-com plot. Boy (sweaty Leopoldo Trieste – replace with Matt Damon… or Steve Coogan, it’s not important) and new wife (Brunella Bovo of Miracle In Milan – maybe Katherine Heigl) are honeymooning in Rome. He has their trip meticulously planned, but she sneaks out while he’s napping and goes to visit the offices of her favorite magazine – meets the romance writer (Fanny Marchió of Variety Lights – I’m thinking Glenn Close) who gets the newlywed whisked away to a photo shoot with her idol the White Sheik (Alberto Sordi of Mafioso: Ben Affleck). Hijinks ensue.

I like the sweating James Gandolfini-looking hotel attendant, and that the sheik is introduced with a mighty crotch shot underneath a swing, and that there are apparently references to future Fellini movies (the husband is tempted by prostitute Cabiria). I like that Ivan covers for his wife, since he’d seemed the type to blame her in front of his family for his day going wrong, but he secretly searches for her whilst placating his family, and she gets increasingly caught up in the photo shoot (they’ve just put her in costume when the director yells “get ready for the rape scene!”), while the Sheik looks increasingly like a cad, making the inevitable happy reunion of the couple (moments before their audience before the pope) that much more meaningful.

Watched for the Shadowplay Film Club, which has a much better write-up, hence my lack of effort.

Set over one year in the mid-to-late 30’s, mostly follows high-school-aged Titta and his family but leaves breathing room for the rest of the town and its inhabitants. The rare ensemble movie that gives everyone a memorably distinct identity without resorting to stereotyping.

On one hand, it would be worth renting the Criterion DVD and poring over the hours of extras. On the other hand, there’s no outside explanation needed for Amarcord. Need to watch this again and again… I’m pretty sure Katy would like it.

The title is slangy for “I Remember.”

I can’t account for why this won an oscar one year (best foreign film) and was nominated for more oscars (writing, directing) the following year.

I always think of “fascism” as a bad word, an insult thrown at your government by foreigners, forgetting that once Italians were screaming their support of fascism in the streets. Nutty buggers.

I don’t think this was packed with movie stars. Red temptress Magali Noël had been in Satyricon, Titta’s mom would appear in Cinema Paradiso 15 years later, and mad uncle Teo would direct a parody of The Exorcist.

So, another great Fellini film, combining the circus-film group atmosphere of 8 1/2 with touches of the tragedy of La Strada, with fortunately no La Dolce Vita influence to be found. I didn’t let the dubbing get me down, but I’d thought a new print of a new restoration of an only 30-year-old film would have more vibrant color than it did.

Circus strongman Anthony Quinn pops into poor village, visits poor family, mentions that their oldest girl has died, and skips off with the next-oldest, the simpleminded and very facially-expressive Giulietta Masina. She eventually learns to be useful in the act, but he never warms up to her, disappearing all night with whores and the like. Guy robs a convent and kills the clown she likes, then leaves her to die on her own, and carries on for years with his lame chain-busting bit. Not one of those “tough guy with the heart of gold” stories then.

La Strada 1

Not as dismal as I’ve made it sound above, but still pretty dismal. Very watchably dismal though, whenever Giulietta Masina is onscreen, which is almost always. Mixes Fellini’s clown obsession with his bummer realist stuff very successfully. To think that I was afraid of this movie after seeing La Dolce Vita. Wonder if Katy would’ve enjoyed it.

La Strada 2