I vitelloni (Federico Fellini, 1953) Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Franco Interlenghi, Leopoldo Trieste
I vitelloni; lit. "The Bullocks/The Layabouts") is a 1953 Italian comedy-drama directed by Federico Fellini from a screenplay by Fellini, Ennio Flaiano and Tullio Pinelli. The film launched the career of Alberto Sordi, one of post-war Italy's most significant and popular comedians, who stars with Franco Fabrizi and Franco Interlenghi in a story of five young Italian men at crucial turning points in their small town lives. Recognized as a pivotal work in the director's artistic evolution, the film has distinct autobiographical elements that mirror important societal changes in 1950s Italy. Recipient of both the Venice Film Festival Silver Lion in 1953, and an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing in 1958, the film's success restored Fellini's reputation after the commercial failure of The White Sheik (1952).
Tom Piazza: I Vitelloni hangs us on the horns of an insoluble dilemma that lives at the center of Fellini’s work. That dilemma takes subtly shifting forms but ultimately seems to stem from the tension between childhood’s sense of wonder and possibility, with its undertow of infantile dependency and decay if the individual can’t grow up, and, on the other hand, the practical and realistic understanding of life’s responsibilities and costs, which carries its own undertow of possible stultification, cynicism and corruption. This tension finds its most pointed expression in the repeated images, throughout Fellini’s films, of the exploitation of the mysterious, beautiful or sacred by those whose ego or lust for power has blinded them to what is most precious. I Vitelloni brings this imagery into the center of the picture for the first time. Criterion.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 15 January, 2021 | Now: 15 January, 2021