Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni is a comedy-drama which charts the lives of a group of 20-something friends in an Italian seaside town. Narrated by Franco Interlenghi’s Moraldo, the main focus of I Vitelloni is Franco Fabrizi’s popular Fausto Moretti. Fausto gets Moraldo’s sister Sandra pregnant and they marry, but Fusto’s roving eye causes all sorts of issues amongst friends and family.
Seen as an inspiration for such disenchanted youth films George Lucas’ American Graffiti and Barry Levinson’s Diner, I Vitellioni truly gets across the malaise of that point in your youth when you’re struggling to gain a foothold into adulthood. Fabrizi may have the showier role as the womanising Fausto, but Franco Interlenghi delivers a performance filled with stillness and sadness.
Only his second solo directing effort, this 1953 film from Federico Fellini shows an assured understanding of character and visuals, while also developing an authentic voice and an unique talent. The joviality of I Vitelloni makes it seem like a comedy, but a darkness runs through its humour and this pulls you under like a deep undercurrent of sadness. You’ll be thinking about this for days after you watch it.
I Vitelloni comes with an insightful video essay from Oxford Professfor Guido Bonsaver.