Italy / France, 1953 (MIFF 1957, Programme 3)
Director: Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini was scarcely a new name to the critics when his film La Strada was shown at the Italian Film Festival. Fellini had been active on the creative side of the Italian neo-realist movement from almost the beginning.
He worked with Rossellini in Open City and Paisa and wrote the original story of The Miracle. Later again he collaborated with Lattuada on a number of films and co-directed Cammino Delia Speranza.
However, I Vitelloni and La Strada are the films that won Fellini his reputation as the most important new filmmaker to have come out of the neo-realist movement since Renato Castellani.
I Vitelloni is a film "on a very Italian theme - the idle young men, who, when the bands and bathing beauties of the summer season are gone, loaf about their little provincial, seaside town. There they dream of an escape to Rome, albeit their dreams are desultory and have none of the passionate wistfulness with which Chekhov's Three Sisters used to dream of Moscow: they hope, one day, to write a novel, or they sponge on a hardworking sister, or they drift from one casual seduction to another. In short, their ageing, shop-worn immaturity is passing into the disenchanted thirties while they do almost nothing except avoid honest work".
Fellini has avoided social argument in favour of characters compassionately drawn and realistically presented. In its juxtaposition of images, the eloquence of its acting and the apposite moods of its music, I Vitelloni provides the viewer with a cinematic experience of unusual quality.