Federico Fellini’s 1954 film I Vitelloni (“Overgrown Calves”) proves just how satisfying an original screenplay can be. Three heads, one of them Fellini’s, produced it, and the result is a sure artistic success about life as lived by five young men in a provincial Italian town. Unambitious about traditional living—traditional living, to be sure, in an arid town—the callow “overgrown calves” are indifferent to the social values their elders know must exist.
Fellini’s direction is careful and winningly imaginative, serving a film as buoyant as it is sad. Precisely the sympathy for freakish people we want, but don’t always get, from a Fellini movie exists in spades here. Better, everything is made engaging, from characters to details.
(In Italian with English subtitles)