26 August 2018

CULTFILMS PRESENTS: FEDERICO FELLINI'S 'I VITELLONI.' (1953) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




FEDERICO FELLINI'S 'I VITELLONI.' (1953) DIRECTED BY/SCREENPLAY AND STORY BY FEDERICO FELLINI.
STARRING FRANCO INTERLENGHI, ALBERTO SORDI, FRANCO FABRIZI, LEOPOLDO TRIESTE AND RICCARDO FELLINI.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

'The Godfather of such iconic films as MEAN STREETS, AMERICAN GRAFFITI and DINER, Fellini's masterpiece I VITELLONI arrives in Dual Format Edition, including its first ever UK Blu-Ray version alongside the DVD, and digitally on all UK platforms including Amazon, courtesy of CultFilms. Hard to find, this pivotal piece of cinema arrives in stunningly restored HD on 27th August 2018.

The original slacker film that spawned an entire genre, I VITELLONI (loosely translated as 'The Young Bucks') is the story of a group of five long-time male friends who are still coming of age in their thirties. Mostly unemployed and too old to be kids, they struggle with their uncertainties about settling down in their Italian seaside town...'

'If they don't find her, I'll kill myself.'
'You won't kill yourself. You're too much of a coward.'

'We always talked about leaving but only one of us, early one morning without telling anyone, actually left.'

'I treated you like a brother and you behaved like a scoundrel.'
'Look, I was just fooling around.'

'He who cares not for art cares not for life.'

As the promotional material above states, this is the story of five Italian lads in their late twenties, early thirties, who have yet to find their purpose in life. Mostly unemployed, still living with their parents- for shame!- and mostly still single and in no rush to settle down, they're a bit sad really. They'll probably never escape the little provincial coastal town they talk constantly of escaping.

Here in modern Ireland, we call peeps like that 'millenials.' They were born in and around the 'Nineties and/or the millenium, and they're the generation who grew up with Harry Potter and Pokemon and who may never own their own homes due to the lack here of affordable housing for regular people. Hence the need to continue living with Mom and Pops, who can now no longer look forward to a peaceful retirement because they can't get rid of their offspring.

Our millenials move from temporary job to temporary job, unlike their parents and grandparents who tended to get 'jobs for life;' if you were educated, then you'd go into 'the Bank' or the civil service and, if you weren't, then maybe factory work or a labouring job.

All that old way of life doesn't really exist any more. In a way, that's a good thing, as we've swept out a load of the old backwards way of thinking as well, but on the other hand it's sad for our millenials that they may never know the security that comes with owning your own home or being in a job that they can't sack you from, no matter how criminally inept you are at it, lol.

Anyway, the lads in Fellini's black-and-white picture remind me of the lads in the old movie MARTY, which I think was made around the same time. The lead character Marty, played by Ernest Borgnine, and his pals are all pretty much pushing forty and they still hang around with each other every Saturday night, mooching between the cinema and the pub and the pool-hall as if they were bored teenagers looking for thrills that simply didn't exist in their home town.

We see more of Fausto in Fellini's film than any of the other lads. I find it hard to call them men as they don't really act like men but more like 'callow youths.' When we first see Fausto, he's trying to skip town because he's gotten his girlfriend Sandra (great name, by the way!) pregnant and he doesn't want to face up to the consequences of same.

Fausto's Dad, a man of honour, forces him to marry Sandra, who's thrilled to have bagged the handsome Fausto, tall and dark with his film-star looks and Elvis quiff. She has her baby and then spends the rest of her married life- the part that we see of it- worrying about where Fausto is and what he's up to. His serial philandering causes her nothing but heartbreak.

Sandra's Dad finds Fausto a job in a shop that sells religious statuary and iconography and stuff like that, which he balls-es up by making a pass at his boss's middle-aged wife. Anything with a pulse, eh, Fausto?

If it walks and talks and has tits, hair and legs, Fausto will sleep with it. He's a selfish, unpleasant character who has a lot of growing up to do yet. And he may never do it. Some guys literally never develop a sense of responsibility towards the women they've made promises to and the babies they've created.

Fausto flirts shockingly with an attractive woman who's sitting to his right at the cinema, while his new bride Sandra is sitting innocently to his left. He even runs out of the cinema to follow the sexy broad home, leaving his wife standing bewildered outside the cinema later, waiting for Fausto like a fool.

Moraldo is Sandra's brother and Fausto's friend. He's cute to look at and a nice guy who would never behave as Fausto does, but he's weak and almost contemptible in this weakness. He knows that Fausto is behaving appalingly towards Sandra and their newborn baby son and he does nothing, even though he's Sandra's big brother and the child's Uncle.

He sees Fausto actively cheating on Sandra with a theatre showgirl and, instead of letting Fausto have it with both barrels, he contents himself with a few passive-aggressive remarks and dirty looks which Fausto blithely ignores. Moraldo has no balls, I'm sorry to say.

Alberto is unemployed too and cadges money for gambling off his sister Olga, who works. She's seeing a married man, something Alberto disapproves of greatly, but he's a big unemployed layabout who spends his days hanging out with his unemployed mates, so I hardly think he has the moral high ground here.

'Don't you dare make our mother cry,' he rather hypocritically warns Olga, but the Mother is just as likely to be upset by Alberto's aimlessness and lack of purpose in life as she is to be perturbed by Olga's love life. How dare he be so pious? The big loser.

Leopoldo is a playwright who hasn't sold any plays yet. It's quite funny when he thinks he's finally got a big important theatre actor to take an interest in his work but he nearly has a heart attack when he discovers that the actor, an old man, might just want to have sex with him down on the beach in the dark of night in the middle of a wind-and-rain-storm. Back to the drawing board, eh Leopoldo?

We don't know much about Riccardo, the last of the 'Young Bucks,' except that he cherishes a desire to sing and act. Also, he's actually played by one Riccardo Fellini, the brother of the director, who was a director of documentaries in his own right.

There's a lot of pathos in the sight of Alberto, dressed as a very unconvincing woman (Some Like It Hot, much?) the morning after the town's massive Carnivale, shouting after his sister Olga on the empty windblown street as she disappears into a car with her lover.

There's pathos too in the relationship between Moraldo and the little railway worker Guido, the ten-year-old boy who gets up for work at three in the morning. What is it that Moraldo finds appealing about the boy? 

Don't worry, folks, it's not at all a paedophile thing. Maybe he's marvelling at the fact that the boy is so cheerfully accepting of his miserable lot. Maybe this young lad has more of a lust for life and responsibility than Moraldo has and it puts Moraldo to shame.

I love the empty town square on the morning after the Carnivale. There's a windswept bleakness about it that seems to fit with the tone of the last half hour of the film, when it looks like the placid, submissive blinkered little Sandra has finally woken up and smelled the coffee.
The coffee that is Fausto's disgusting serial philandering...

What does the future hold for the five lads? Maybe Fellini should have made a sequel, lol. I don't think he did, so we'll just have to content ourselves with I VITELLONI, the director's masterpiece. It's a superb film and well worth your time and hard-earned cash. Enjoy it with my royal blessing, lol.

'The Godfather of such iconic films as MEAN STREETS, AMERICAN GRAFFITI and DINER, Fellini's masterpiece I VITELLONI arrives in Dual Format Edition, including its first ever UK Blu-Ray version alongside the DVD, and digitally on all UK platforms including Amazon, courtesy of CultFilms. Hard to find, this pivotal piece of cinema arrives in stunningly restored HD on 27th August 2018.

The original slacker film that spawned an entire genre, I VITELLONI (loosely translated as 'The Young Bucks') is the story of a group of five long-time male friends who are still coming of age in their thirties. Mostly unemployed and too old to be kids, they struggle with their uncertainties about settling down in their Italian seaside town...'


AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com








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