In his carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy during the Fascist period, Federico Fellini satirizes his youth and turns daily life into a circus of social rituals, adolescent desires, male fantasies, and political repartee, all set to Nino Rota’s classic, nostalgia-tinged score. The Academy Award-winning Amarcord was one of Fellini’s most popular films and remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures.
Federico Fellini’s final film to win an Oscar is a fascinating mix of nostalgia, allegory, and larger-than-life outrageousness, and Criterion has assembled a package that pays tribute to every facet. The stellar assortment of supplements includes a trailer, sketches by the filmmaker, deleted footage, an interview with the still effervescent star Magali Noël, and a nonstop commentary track by Italian cinema scholars Peter Brunette and Frank Burke that manages to be both extremely informative and dryly funny. (The director’s growing infatuations with rude bodily functions and exaggerated female forms do not go unremarked.) Most essential, however, might be the inclusion of a 45-minute documentary featuring interviews with a number of Fellini’s childhood friends, some of whom were surprised to find themselves depicted in the film in exaggerated form. Taken as a whole, it paints a fascinating picture of a sly, continually slippery artist who, in the words of one participant, did everything possible to wipe out his own autobiography and invent another one.