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I Vitelloni
cast: Franco Fabrizi, and Franco Interlenghi

director: Federico Fellini

105 minutes (U) 1953 Nouveaux retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Gary Couzens
The title is Italian for "the little calves," although the subtitles translate it not especially appropriately as Spivs. (It's also known as The Young And The Passionate in the US.) Fellini's second feature is semi-autobiographical. (Fellini's own brother Riccardo plays one of the lead characters.) It follows five young men in their late twenties, living in a small out-of-the-way seaport, as they dream about getting away, of writing the great novel, play practical jokes, chase girls. One of them, Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), is pressurised into marriage. Fellini looks at these characters with a mixture of affection and criticism: we warm to them, though we know that they will never amount to very much, nor will they leave the town. If they're in a rut, it's a comfortable one. In fact, one of them does leave - Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), a clear surrogate for the writer/director, departs for the city. (For his adventures there, see La Dolce Vita, where the author-figure is called Marcello and is played by Marcello Mastroianni.)
   In style I Vitelloni is naturalistic, but there are hints of the non-realist direction Fellini would later take: a sequence where the carnival comes to town, for example. This video transfer is in good condition, apart from some splices and distorting sound at the beginning. As is usual with Fellini's work, it was shot silent with the sound added later, with some less than precise lip-synch in places.
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