“Who are you? You’re nobody. You’re all nobodies.”
A group of male friends in 1950s Italy — including a newly married womanizer (Franco Fabrizi) and an aspiring playwright (Leopoldo Trieste) — dream of leaving town and making it big.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Coming of Age
- Fellini Films
- Italian Films
Along with Amarcord (1973), I Vitelloni (which translates literally into “overgrown calves”) is widely regarded as one of Fellini’s most autobiographical films. Taking place in the postwar seaside town of Rimini (which bears resemblance to Fellini’s childhood home), I Vitelloni is an episodic character study which ambles through its script much like the characters themselves amble through their aimless lives. As noted in the Bright Lights Film Journal review, “passivity and ineffectualness hamper all the ‘vitelloni'”, who possess big dreams but lack the willpower to pursue them seriously. Less overtly surreal than Fellini’s later films, I Vitelloni nonetheless shows ample evidence of this iconic director’s unique sensibility — especially in the carnival-like crowd scenes. Nino Rota’s infectious score further marks Vitelloni as unmistakably Fellini-esque, and reminds one how closely associated Rota’s music is with Fellini’s entire oeuvre.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- A spot-on look at young men coming of age in a small town
- Gorgeous visuals
- Nino Rota’s wonderfully expressive score
Yes. This autobiographical film is an important part of Fellini’s early oeuvre, and should be seen by all film fanatics.