In Italian, a m’arcord means I remember and this is what Federico Fellini does in this film which recounts his childhood and the life of his childhood best friend, Luigi Titta Benzi, who is the inspiration for Titta, the main character. Fellini took efforts to say that this was not an autobiographical film, but thoughts of his past.

What’s amazing to me is this Oscar-winning film — Best Foreign Language Film and nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay — was brought to the U.S. by Roger Corman.

Titta (Bruno Zanin) and his friends would rather be involved with pranks and attempt to lose their virginity than studying under fascism. This film has a scene where four of them masturbate in a car while discussing women like Bardot that may shock U.S. audiences, not because there’s any nudity, but the frankness and idea of boys exploring their sexuality in the same confined space is something that Americans would deny ever doing.

Many of Titta’s fantasies revolve around Gradisca (Magali Noël), the most beautiful woman in town who is due to be married to a fascist officer, as well as an encounter with a well-endowed tobacconist (Maria Antonietta Beluzzi) who nearly overwhelms him with her bosom.

This is an episodic film, filled with moments like Titta’s institutionalized uncle climbing a tree and screaming, “I want a woman!” as well as his father’s past as an anarchist, a winter family tragedy, the town coming together for a festival and an ocean liner passing by and everyone meeting it by boat. It’s charming and perhaps the most accessible of Fellini’s films, even if the Italian sexuality of it all may be too much for American puritanical eyes.

How important of a movie is this? It was the first film released in the letterboxed format when it came out on a RCA SelectaVision CED videodisc.

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