Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's with Fellini.

My wife and I eschewed the parties we were invited to. We decided to celebrate New Year's alone, just the two of us. Three, if you count Whiskey, who, it must be said, is pretty much the center of things at all times. She's a remarkable pup, and endlessly playful and amusing.

We settled in front of the flatscreen and Laura beckoned me to load the movie I had selected for the evening. I had thought long and hard. What's a good New Year's movie?

I quickly eliminated the 60 or 80 films I rotated among that are about Nazis. I also didn't think film noir would be a good expression for the New Year. And silent movies, while I love them, I didn't think my wife would appreciate. Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin and Charley Chase all have their charms, but they didn't feel right for celebrating New Year's.

Finally, I settled on "Amarcord," the Oscar-winning film by Federico Fellini and I truly think I could not have made a better choice. In the Italian dialect of Fellini's youth, amarcord means I remember, and this was his look back at a year--a single year--of his adolescence as he was growing up, along with Mussolini's Fascism in 1930s small-town Italy.

It's the lives, the loves, the laughter and the horror we all reckon with, softened by celluloid, spiced with genius. It's a year. A year of beauty, a year of pain, a year of fun, and hijinx, and, again, horror.

It's an amazing movie, Amarcord. One of my favorites of all time. Something as detailed as a great Monet, as real as a Bernini sculpture. As funny as the Marx Brothers. As frightening as death.

It was a perfect way to end one year and begin another.

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