Federico Fellini is a go to for film students, cinephiliac’s and when it comes to by words for surreal fantasy in cinema. However at the start of his career Fellini was a master of the neo realist and this is (for me at least) his masterpiece. Five friends live in the Italian seaside. They all dream. They all live for the evening and love the night. Drink flows, words shoot out and fun is had. However under that veneer covers true life for them all. One is forced into a marriage after getting a girl pregnant outside of wedlock, another has a wayward sister, yet another needs to escape but cant bring up the nerve. Five friends all heading nowhere or somewhere…but when?
Fellini. Yes the master of the absurd and the satirical. Here in I Vitelloni he manages to mix the two without burdening the reality nor undermining the narrative. The narrative is key. Its a personal series of stories that are real, yet are in some way fantasy. Hyper real yet in such a way as to be unnatural. The charmer is uncaring, he is unfaithful yet works in a shop for religiosity. Then you have the writer who never writes a word, the righteous man is unscrupulous. All are writing as fantastical images. Then the visual plays along. This comes to a glorious cacophony of images and paper in the festival / carnival scene. Fellini visually distils the absurd reality of the event with compositions that drop in surreal detail.
The disc from Cult films should be commended for the new transfer. The DVD one was awful. Grainy and jumpy. Here it is still a little out of focus but the majority of scenes are clean and age has not withered it. The jumpy scenes are clear and the sound and subs are solid. The only extra is Guido Bonsaver Fellini piece. Excellent. He knows Fellini like no other does.