Knocking on Modernity's Door

Here is a review of Fellini's I Vitelloni by Megan Ratner on the Bright Lights Film Journal website:

Fellini wrote I Vitelloni with Ennio Flaiano, both of them having spent much of their youth palling around with their own "vitelloni." But this is no exercise in nostalgia; throughout the film there are hints of the society in transition: from the use of "OK," rarely heard in Italian at the time though ubiquitous today, to the wall of advertisements behind Fausto and Sandra during one of their arguments, to the driving school in the background when Fausto and Moraldo talk, the signs of nascent consumerism are everywhere. Mobility, especially in search of individual opportunity, is at the very center of American life, but Italian society has only slowly adopted this way of thinking. The move made by Moraldo, which was based on Fellini's own abandonment of Rimini for Rome in 1938, signals a break with his deepest connections: the family and the "vitelloni." Deceptively sketchy and simple, I Vitelloni was one of the first films to key into one of the most important ideas of contemporary cinema: the essential rootlessness of modern life.
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