AMARCORD (1973) AND, A SCANNER DARKLY (2006) – FILM REVIEWS

AMARCORD (1973)

Amarcord (1973) is set in a small Italian town near Rimini, and it is a whimsical tale about the vibrant people of this town shown in a span of a year. Most of it is based on the director, Frederico Fellini’s childhood.

The film follows a very unique narrative style, even though we see this town through the eyes of teenager Titta Biondi, the film’s focus is not on one character, the movie is like a collection of vignettes that portray the lives of the people of this town. The narrators keep changing. There’s no plot, this film is like a carnival – you’re transported to this world and you are supposed to enjoy all the chaos shown on screen.

This is an extremely light and breezy movie. The film flows like music, because the focus changes from one character to the other very smoothly. All characters are eccentric and lively. It feels surreal and dreamlike, the use of washed out colours adds to this feeling. I like how personal all of Fellini’s films are and this is probably his most personal one. I loved how he’s captured the spirit of youth. I found the film very relatable because of how he’s shown all the emotions and experiences of childhood.

Fellini has touched on the subjects of Christianity, sex and Mussolini’s fascist government with a lot of humour. One of the scenes that made me laugh super hard was when the priest of this town tells all the school boys to avoid masturbation because it would make Saint Louis cry. And while confessing, the protagonist Titta starts recalling all his sexual fantasies.

Amarcord is one of the most dazzling film experiences I’ve ever had, Fellini succeeds at evoking nostalgia by telling a dreamy and personal story about his youth in a small Italian town. In the end- a masterpiece.

A SCANNER DARKLY (2006)

A Scanner Darkly (2006) is set a few years into the future and it’s about an undercover detective Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves) who’s trying to get to the distributers of this brain damaging drug named “Substance D”. While working on this assignment, he gets addicted to the substance and starts losing his identity.

This film is grim and hypnotic, these elements are elevated by it’s stunning rotoscope animation. The characters are abstruse and well done. Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson have all given top notch performances.

Linklater has created this feeling of claustrophobia and paranoia. The film maintains a certain ambiguity, which could make it hard to follow, but that’s part of the experience. It is based on Philip K Dick’s novel of the same name which was about his experience with drugs. This is a faithful adaptation of his novel that gives an important message in a hard hitting and impactful way.

A minor nitpick that I have with the movie is that it does get a little convoluted in the third act. A lot of things happen, a few twists take place here and there, I think these could have been done in a smoother fashion. A few small plot points do not make sense when everything adds up.

Overall, A Scanner Darkly is an entrancing experience with a rousing screenplay and an important message.

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