Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Vitelloni

Federico Fellini, Italy, 1953, bw (8.4*)
Enjoyable early Fellini comedy film about a group of slackers, ne’er do wells who are content to merely chase women, drink, and dream rather than apply themselves to constructive endeavors.

One of a small group of friends, Fausto Moretti, seduces Sandra, a sister of his friend and companion Moraldo Rubini, then against his intuition, he does the right thing and marries her. After their honeymoon, he takes a boring job as a salesman of religious objects in a small shop that barely has any customers. He still looks at (and goes for) other women, along with his friends. He even mistakes some messages from his bosses wife and tries to seduce her, and is fired.

Still, not much changes in the lives of any of the group. This film is not about going anywhere in particular, but just as much about not making much effort to get anywhere either, and have some pleasures along the road to nowhere if possible. Fellini is merely giving us a snapshot here of a lazy lifestyle, or rather a beautifully photographed cinematic portrait, in the era of the growing beatnik movement, when work was considered the opposite of freedom.

Vitellone is literal for fatted veal calf, but on the dvd, Fellini defines it as aimless, do-nothing guys, or slackers. It is said that this film is autobiographical, at least partially so. It is also given credit for defining the modern term, or usage of slackers as well.

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.



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