Amarcord is probably the first time an established film director went before cameras with one concept in mind and then created an almost entirely different picture. Instead of lensing a nostalgic look at the past to recapture the happy simplicity of existence before mechanisation, the maestro did just the opposite.
With a loose reference to his boyhood years in the very Italian province of Romagna (Fellini was born in Rimini), he has looked back as much in anger as in sorrow and has recreated provincial life in the early 1930s with unsparing emphasis on the inadequacies of man and existence.
Amarcord unrolls in a four-season span – opening and closing in a skyfull of thistledown (harbinger of spring). From spring to midsummer, the provincial town (symbolic of all small towns) is the throbbing cauldron of human activity.
The young adolescent schoolboy, Titta (Bruno Zanin), and his family constitute the script thread in the screenplay. Titta is both victim and rebel.
In production almost a year and costly (around $3.5 million), this Fellini opus is his most accessible to mass audiences since La Dolce Vita. Elements of earthiness and sentiment are relevant to his purpose. Fellini’s traditionally generous dosage of fantasy and poetry are subordinated to the grotesque, the macabre, the sentimental.
1974: Best Foreign Language Film