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A year in the life of the Mediterranean seaside town through a series of nostalgic anecdotal vignettes of a fantastic array of events and characters, all tenderly shot in soft, muted colours. Loopy teachers, strange foreigners, curvaceous women, a skinny nymphomaniac and a crazed solitary motorcyclist are just a few of the bizarre, but very human, characters experiencing the wonder and disillusionment of their everyday lives.
For more about Amarcord and the Amarcord Blu-ray release, see Amarcord Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on February 12, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio, Ciccio Ingrassia, Armando Brancia, Nando Orfei
Director: Federico Fellini
» See full cast & crew
Amarcord Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, February 12, 2011
Winner of Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Federico Fellini's Amarcord (1973) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include: audio commentary with film studies professors Peter Brunette and Frank Burke; interview with actress actress Magali Noel; audio interview with Federico Fellini; deleted scene; collection of sketches; original theatrical trailer; and more. The disc also arrives with a 64-page illustrated booklet containing Sam Rohdie's essay "Federico of the Spirits", as well as "My Rimini", a collection of reminiscences by Federico Fellini. In Italian, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
In 1967, Federico Fellini fell seriously ill. Hospitalized in Rome, he began thinking about his childhood years, his home town and friends. Assuming that the end is near, Fellini gathered his thoughts in La Mia Rimini (My Rimini), many of which he later on referred to in Amarcord (a term invented by Fellini and typically translated into English as I Remember).
Amarcord is literally a journey through Fellini's memories - chaotic, uneven, and not too tightly integrated with each other. Some are hilarious, others are sad. All of them, however, are infused with a strong sense of nostalgia about something precious that has been lost. Naturally, the film does not have a linear story with a well defined plot; rather it offers a fascinating glimpse at a certain way of life, and a generation of Italians who once cherished it.
The townspeople in Amarcord are a motley crew, and most are seen through the eyes of a boy - undoubtedly, the young Fellini - who at one point becomes overwhelmed by them. They are poor peasants, noblemen, intellectuals, prostitutes, fascists, and crazies who live their lives mostly unaware that their world is part of a much bigger world.
With the exception of a pompous ceremony praising Il Duce's regime, the townspeople get their excitement primarily by observing each other - the men lusting after women with giant breasts and massive behinds, the women provoking the men and waiting to see whether they are brave enough to pursue their dreams. No doubt this is Felllini's circus, and everyone has an imortant part in it.
Unlike the rest of Fellini's great films, however, Amarcord is neither a subversive nor a political film. The few dilemmas the main protagonists face are trivial, and they certainly address them in trivial ways. And even when the setup is perfect for something outrageous to happen - the notorious topless scene with the big and beautiful tobacconist comes to mind - the climax is underwhelming.
Towards the end of the film the town gradually begins to open up to the world and some of its residents begin to reevaluate their relationships and dreams. They also discover that there has been a lot in their lives that that they have been taking for granted. There is a particularly interesting shift of attitudes resulting in various previously unthinkable compromises, which symbolizes the end of an era.
Ultimately, even though Amarcord is arguably best described as an impressive collection of fractured memories extracted from Fellini's childhood years, it is not a biographical film. At best, it is an intimate introduction to Fellini's fascinating world, inspired by his past as a cartoonist and reflective of his knowledge of Italy, its people and culture.
The screenplay of Amarcord was written by Italian icon Tonino Guerra, who also wrote the screenplays for such masterpieces as Michelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura, La notte, and L'eclisse, Andrey Tarkovskiy's Nostalghia, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani's Night of the Shooting Stars, and Theo Angelopoulos' Eternity and a Day. The film is also complimented by a beautiful music score courtesy of another Italian icon, award-winning composer Nino Rota (The Godfather).
Note: In 1975, Amarcord won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Amarcord Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Federico Fellini's Amarcord arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"This high-definition transfer was created on a Spirit Datacine from a 35mm interpositive. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI's DRS system and Pixel Farm's PFClean system, while Digital Vision's DVNR system was used for small dirt, grain, and noise reduction.
Telecine supervisor: Maria Palazzola.
Telecine colorist: Kathy Thomson/Modern Videofilm, Los Angeles.
Additional color correction: Steve Calalang/Technicolor, New York."
This Blu-ray release of Amarcord represents a substantial upgrade in quality over the SDVD rerelease of the film, which Criterion produced in 2006. Though it appears that the same master was used, this high-definition transfer conveys stronger contrast levels, clarity, and grain structure. Color stability is also improved. While on the SDVD release the reds and blues often times pulsate, here they are richer and stronger. This being said, occasionally random light noise is still easy to see, especially during the daylight scenes. Mild edge-enhancement pops up here and there as well. There are also traces of various noise corrections. The integrity of the film, however, is untouched - the corrections have partially restored what time has damaged, not added to it. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Amarcord Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: Italian LPCM 1.0 and English Dolby Digital 1.0. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The following text appear inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray disc:
"The monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from a 35mm magnetic soundtrack. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube's integrated audio workstation."
The Italian LPCM 1.0 track is pleasing. It has a decent range of dynamics and overall strong organic qualities. The dialog is clean, stable, and easy to follow. There are no balance issues with legendary composer Nino Rota's music score either. I also did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Amarcord Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Amarcord Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Federico Fellini's Amarcord is an essential film that belongs in every serious film collection. It is that simple. Criterion's Blu-ray release is very good - the film looks the best it ever has and the supplemental features are very informative. I strongly encourage you to listen to the wonderful audio commentary by professors Peter Brunette and Frank Burke. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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