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"Fellini brought to maturity this conviction. That in order to extract profound truth from the reality of the phenomenal world that appears before us, you must reinvent that reality"—Vittorio Boarini, Director of the Fellini Foundation
How does one go about describing such a movie? This is surely among Federico Fellini's best movies, exquisitely filmed and with a haunting soundtrack (by Nino Rota) that might follow you for the rest of your life. It is also a movie so fantastically nostalgic, filled with wondrous, larger-than-life characters, with an almost universal appeal. It's probably one of those movies that's best experienced.
The plot itself is largely autobiographical, from Fellini's own memories as a child, and can be said to consist the story of that an small Italian town of Borgo during the Mussolini dictatorship. It mostly focuses on a 'typical' Italian family and their numerous mishaps, but there are many, many side-characters and side-stories...
It was widely praised at the time of its release, being exceptionally well received by critics (some even calling it a instant classic) and winning the Oscar for best foreign language film, and to this day it tends to appear in 'best of all time' lists, with merit.
This movie has many, many tropes, these are just a few of them:
- Big Beautiful Woman: The tobacconist.
- Black Shirt: The originals.
- Blind Musician: The accordionist.
- Book Ends: The "puffballs" (floating seed pods) that serve as the first sign of spring.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Constantly.
- Burn the Witch
- Coming of Age Story
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Four of the kids combine it with Auto Erotica.
- Dirty Old Man
- Dumb Blonde: Volpina.
- Fascist Italy: One of the most poignant examples.
- Huge Holographic Head: Though it’s not holographic, but made of flowers. And it’s Mussolini’s.
- Marshmallow Hell
- Post Modernism
- Slice of Life
- Nuns Are Spooky: A dwarf nun at that!
- Quirky Town
- Urine Trouble: In the middle of a class, done by some kid, in a very ingenious way.
- Working Class People Are Morons: Seriously; almost all the town is showed as a bunch of ignorant buffoons. As an ingenious Take That, one woman proudly declares that almost all the town is a member of the Fascist Party. Think about it.