Amarcord (1973)

Directed by Federico Fellini

In an Italian seaside town, young Titta gets into trouble with his friends and watches various local eccentrics as they engage in often absurd behavior. Frequently clashing with his stern father and defended by his doting mother, Titta witnesses the actions of a wide range of characters, from his extended family to Fascist loyalists to sensual women, with certain moments shifting into fantastical scenarios.

Puerile and childish. But Fellinni's use of dubbed-in dialogue lands as both a sign of laziness but also that capturing his actors' efforts and the audience's comprehension of a scene is somehow beneath him. Some of this ADR is so affected and misjudged that you feel like he is trying to make a point, but it's difficult to tell what point he is making as all of the ADR is at the same volume and emotional pitch, so you can't tell what is essential to care about. Still, even when you make an effort, you start to realise that Amarcord has all levity of a Borat movie or the Carry On franchise, without any of the gross-out comedy or social satire.

This mainstream movie had the chance to evaluate, if only obliquely, how nostalgia and a desire to reform the past in our own minds is the fuel powering many, if not all of, our desires... including the love for your family, but also the fascism that the film briefly touches on for a couple of minutes. But Amacord doesn't interrogate this paradox at the heart of man, and, quite franklym the greatest moral question it asks of its viewer is whether you like ludicrously sized bums or ludicrously sized breasts.