Film historian Russell Merritt has been introducing films, lecturing, and serving as an occasional guest curator at BAMPFA for more than thirty years.
Franco Interlenghi, Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Leopoldo Trieste,
I vitelloni is sufficiently rooted in neorealism to convey an authentic sense of environment, yet touched with the ether of memory in its evocation of youthful boredom and rootlessness in Rimini, the provincial town where Fellini grew up. The vitelloni are the not-so-young sons of the middle class, perpetually unemployed mother’s pets whittling their lives away in childish pursuits. (“They shine during the holiday season and waiting for this takes up the rest of the year,” Fellini said.) They include Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), the flirt headed for the dull pleasures of family life; Alberto (Sordi), the sentimental buffoon who dresses as a woman for the fête; the writer Leopoldo (Trieste), who seeks fame but settles for an affair with a chambermaid; and the rebel Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), Fellini’s autobiographical hero who takes off for La dolce vita. Fellini observes with intimate irony the macho banter and idiotic arguments, the anticlimax of the feast days, and the nostalgia already built into these young lives.