"Fellini brought to maturity this conviction. That in order to extract profound truth from the reality of the phenomenal world that appears before us, you must reinvent that reality"How does one go about describing such a movie? This is surely among Federico Fellini's best movies, exquisitely filmed and with a haunting soundtrack (by Nino Rota) that might follow you for the rest of your life. It is also a movie so fantastically nostalgic, filled with wondrous, larger-than-life characters, with an almost universal appeal. It's probably one of those movies that's best experienced.The plot itself is largely autobiographical, from Fellini's own memories as a child, and can be said to consist the story of that an small Italian town of Borgo during the Mussolini dictatorship. It mostly focuses on a 'typical' Italian family and their numerous mishaps, but there are many, many side-characters and side-stories...It was widely praised at the time of its release, being exceptionally well received by critics (some even calling it a instant classic) and winning the Oscar for best foreign language film, and to this day it tends to appear in 'best of all time' lists, with merit.
— Vittorio Boarini, Director of the Fellini Foundation
This movie has examples of:
- Age-Inappropriate Dress: Titta who's well into his teens wears short pants and a childish cap.
- Big Beautiful Woman: The tobacconist.
- Black Shirt: The originals.
- Blind Musician: The accordionist.
- Book Ends: The "puffballs" (floating seed pods) that serve as the first sign of spring.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Constantly.
- Bumbling Dad: Titto's father.
- Burn the Witch!
- Coming-of-Age Story
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Four of the kids combine it with Auto Erotica.
- Dirty Old Man: Titta's grandfather.
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Titta's father chases him him with a belt because Titta had urinated on a fellow movie patron's hat.
- Dumb Blonde: Volpina.
- Fascist Italy: One of the most poignant examples.
- Huge Holographic Head: Though itís not holographic, but made of flowers. And itís Mussoliniís.
- Imagine Spot
- Man Child: Titto's uncle, who has developmental problems and lives in an institution out in the country.
- Marshmallow Hell
- Mood Whiplash: The unexpected illness and death of Titta's mother interupts the slapstick.
- This also happens when Titto's father is dragged in for questioning by the Black Shirts and forced to drink castor oil. The mood changes abruptly again when the father is being bathed by his wife after soiling himself and Titto laughs and asks why he stinks.(Presumably not realizing what had happened).
- No Indoor Voice: Everyone
- Nuns Are Spooky: A dwarf nun at that!
- Post Modernism
- Random Events Plot: The film is extremely episodic as it simply recounts a single year in a town.
- Slice of Life
- Quirky Town
- Toilet Humor
- Urine Trouble: In the middle of a class, done by some kid, in a very ingenious way.
- Working Class People Are Morons: Seriously; almost all the town is showed as a bunch of ignorant buffoons. As an ingenious Take That, one woman proudly declares that almost all the town is a member of the Fascist Party. Think about it.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie UsefulNotes/Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film Dersu Uzala