Motion Pictures: Key Concepts
Fellini: Twenty Years After - I Vitelloni
dir. Federico Fellini, Italy, 1953, 35mm, Italian with English subtitles, 103 min.
Introduced by Leonardo Guercio Temple University
Throughout his legendary career, Federico Fellini created a fantastic cinematic world crafted from his intimate dreams and deeply personal memories. Now, more than twenty years after his death, his films continue to fascinate filmgoers and influence new generations of filmmakers. Even though he had facetiously claimed to be a “born liar”, Fellini masterfully employed the artifice of film, as a magician uses illusion, to tell the truth of life as he perceived it. In this way, he was candidly honest and it is this honesty and integrity that is an innate part of his enduring cinematic charm. This quality is richly evident in I Vitelloni, his first discernibly autobiographical film.
Set in the director's hometown of Rimini, I Vitelloni follows the lives of five young vitelloni, or layabouts, who while away their listless days in their small seaside village. Fausto, the leader of the pack, marries his sweetheart, but finds himself constantly distracted by other women. Meanwhile, would-be playwright Leopoldo goes on working on his dreary plays, dreaming of staging them one day. Clownish Alberto still lives at home with his mother and sister, Olga, while boasting of preserving the family honor by watching over her. Stuck in adolescence, the five friends stumble into various misadventures, as they seek to spice up their uneventful provincial lives. Ultimately, one of them breaks free from their self-imposed paralysis and moves on.