Its’ past noon on this chilly Sunday. Gone are the summer Sundays of jumping out of bed early and driving to the Shore or parts unknown to explore. Gone are the lazy summer Sunday mornings of sipping coffee and catching the sun’s rays on the deck.
Spending a Sunday morning like this is packed away till next year!
No. On this Sunday morning, dreams came to life in the form of two films.
Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2” and his beautiful coming-of-age story “Amarcord”.
Oscar Winning film “8 1/2”—the title comes from the 8 1/2 films that Fellini made.
“Amarcord”, memories loosely based on Felinni’s coming-of-age!
“8 1/2” is like watching a dream come to life. It brings memories of dreams you can remember.
It’s odd–last night I had a vivid dream. It was so clear. My oldest son, Jake, was about 12 years old. In this dream, something happened with friends getting into some sort of trouble and he was upset. In my dream, I held him and comforted him. I could actually feel the warmth of his breath and the scent of his hair. It was the sort of dream that stays with you long after you wake up. And you continue to remember that dream at various points in your life.
Visions of my grown son at this age were so crystal-clear in my dream!
That’s the kind of film that “8 1/2” is. In a nutshell without spoilers, Marcello Mastroianni, plays the role of Guido Anselmi, a film director, loosely based on Federico Fellini. He’s having a mental block, so to speak, in getting his latest film, a science fiction one, off the ground.
Even though Fellini looks nothing like Mastroianni, he was a perfect fit for the role! He’s such a great actor–and so handsome too!
The film is a visual delight of dreams. Some visuals grotesque and vulgar.
Eddra Gale as the grotesquely stunning Saraghina, whom the priests dub as “the devil”. She moves her body with sensuality and does a mean rumba!
Guido Anselmi, commanding his mistress, Carla, played by Sandra Milo, to put more slut makeup on. Who doesn’t love a film like this? I think Divine got the idea for his eyebrows from this film!
And some absolutely ethereal and beautiful. All shot in black and white, which gives the film more impact.
Claudia Cardinale is so drop-dead beautiful in this film. I want to look like her and do my hair and makeup like hers. The feathers on her outfit float so gracefully!
What are shown throughout the film are his relationships with the women in his life, his conflict with Catholicism and his career.
Anouk Aimee, who plays Luisa, Guido’s wife, and Carla, his mistress in a scene from the film.
Simple enough—but it can be confusing because there is just so much going on—just like dreams flitting from one scene to another. It’s funny and sad and touching at the same time. The film really has all the elements of the films that play in your own mind during a deep slumber. Especially the scenes from the Spa and the scene of a parade of clowns. It really is an incredible movie.
Spa scenes such as this, and with a cigarette no less, are shot in such a way that it doesn’t look real. It really seems as though you entered Fellini’s mind while he was sleeping and dreaming.
This parade is actually one of my favorite scenes from the movie.
New York Times Review of “8 1/2” Click on the link to the left for a review of this movie. It probably explains it a lot better than I can!
Next up…Bonaparte had to leave to see a client so Chippy and I sat back as I revisited another Fellini film I hadn’t watched since the late 1970’s. “Amarcord”—which, translated is “I remember”. The film is another mix of comedy and drama as it tells the semi-autobiographical exploits of Fellini’s late teen years as a schoolboy in Italy.
This poster is a great visual for the film–all the characters are neatly tied into this illustration!
New York Times Review of “Amarcord” Another review that’ll tell it better than I can!
Titta Biondi, played by Bruno Zanin, can be compared to Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel.
Bruno Zanin, playing Titta Biondi, is a delinquent according to his father and a dirty sinner, according to the priest at the confessional. But–he’s just a normal teenager during the 1930’s growing up in Italy!
Perhaps it’s because Fellini appreciated a large ass on a woman that endears me to him. I know he would have appreciated mine!
I won’t elaborate, but this is one funny scene–and this woman’s ass and other assets play a major role!
But seriously, it’s fun to see a film where women are so revered in their physical beings—and it isn’t about beauty either. Many of the women of his films are not story-book beautiful-but they are unique in their individuality.
From the untouchable Gradisca, played by Magali Noel to the overly-endowed Tobacconist played by Maria Antonietta Beluzzi.
The “Garbo-esque” Gradisca, who longs for love is the woman that Titta fantasizes about.
Titta gets a true gift from “The Tobacconist” played by Maria Antonietta Beluzzi!
Her face may be longer, but I’m reminded of Amy Poehler with this character of Volpina–the town slut!
He also loved life. Laugh out loud moments come in the form of classroom scenes and confessional scenes.
Another incredibly funny moment is the scene when the family takes Titta’s crazy uncle, Teo, from the “hospital” he resides in, for a day of fresh air and fun at a farm in the country. Left alone with Titta’s grandfather, Teo makes his way up a tree for hours screaming “Voglio una donna”, “I want a woman”.
This is funny–but what’s even funnier is HOW he gets down from the tree–no spoilers here!
The family dinner scene was another one that had me cracking up!
This dinner scene had me laughing so hard that Chippy started barking!
Despite the hilariously funny scenes, there are moments of very subtle political unrest. This was during the 1930’s when Fascism reared it’s ugly little head.
The moments like this were short, but left an impact about what the Italians were faced with in their politics.
There are also sad scenes which start when Miranda, Titta’s mother, is hospitalized. A film that can make you laugh, cry and sigh with melancholy is a special one. That’s what’s so special about Amarcord. It brings emotions to the surface and makes you remember past moments in your own life that can bring a smile or a tear to you.
Schoolboys’ faces pressed against a window brings a smile!
And we cannot forget the narrator–known as “The Lawyer”. Every town has one of these guys–an expert on everything!
Watching the films also inspired me to give myself some “8 1/2” eye makeup!
I’m obsessed with this makeup. Obsessed I tell you!
I tried to do my eyes the same way, but mine are too wrinkly. Dammit. Oh well, I tried!
What better way than to spend a Sunday afternoon then to play around with cosmetics after spending the morning watching Fellini films with my Chippy!
My intellectual canine buddy, Chippy. He’s deep in thought pondering the films we just watched!
Take a weekend day to stay home. Forget the chores and the “stuff” that needs to be done—you’ll get around to it. Enjoy life in the form of a film..and make sure it is one that will tug at your heartstrings and turn the corners of your mouth into a huge smile!
Oh…before I forget. Bonaparte’s cousin is directing a film with Omar Sy–remember him from “The Intouchables”? Well, this film is titled “Demain tout Commence”. It’s in production now and should prove to be a heartwarming and touching film. Here’s a photo that Julien Panie snapped.
Filming in London now. I sure hope this film makes it’s way to the USA!
Today, I bring you the ethereal Theme music by Nino Rota from Felinni’s “Amarcord”. It’s very dreamy and smooth and makes you want to go about your day in slow motion!