The title means "I remember," and the film is based on Fellini's childhood during the fascist period. Roger Ebert likes to note that the people in his films always seem to be dancing to an unheard melody. This may be attributed to the music Fellini played on set, since the dialogue is dubbed in later. This also creates an effect that I love, a dreamlike environment where the action is separate from voice. Regardless of the cause, his films are a beautiful thing to watch. Here, he mainly keeps the camera at a safe distance from his subjects, thereby preventing the humorous from becoming overwrought. The film is unofficially demarcated by seasons, which create the pacing for a year in Titta's life--his coming of age.
As with 8 1/2, there is even a demented prostitute lurking on the beach.
And a bleak-looking scaffold, never finished.
The religious aura of a cinema.
In one scene, the entire town turns out to see an ocean liner pass by in the night. One of the men shouts that it is one of the most glorious things that the fascist regime has built. Directly following this scene, the town is plunged into an impenetrable fog, an image which seems to speak even louder than Titta's anarchist father about the evils of fascism.
Before the fog lifts, we bear witness to the young men dancing in the fog with imaginary women. So much of this film is devoted to the dreams of young men. Women are idolized; they are the dream. The glory of fascism is also a dream.
Fellini is one of my favorite filmmakers. His films always evoke a pure joy of watching that is separate from narrative. I don't watch them because I care about the narrative arc; I just can't tear my eyes away. This film is an impeccably choreographed dance to Nina Rota's beautiful score. It is the perfect reworking of a distant memory, idealized and dreamy.