DIRECTOR'S CUT / Howard Franklin on a moving moment from Fellini's I Vitelloni

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The Independent Culture
I Vitelloni (the title means, literally, 'slabs of veal') is about these friends in a small Italian town - the whole movie is a remembrance of Federico Fellini's childhood and the bond between the ageing youths. Near the end of the film, one of them decides to leave, and he gets on a train. You see the train leaving the platform, and he looks back at the town. And there's a reverse angle, which is a dolly shot; it feels as though it's the motion of the train, and the conventional thing of course would be to see the town as it recedes into the distance.

But what he sees instead is so much more profound and so much more to the point - he sees each of his friends as they're getting into bed, in their little houses and apartments. Films are usually about what you literally see; they're a literal medium. What you get here is just a shot of people getting into bed, but it yanks you into a deeper reality. Rather than seeing what the eye sees, we see what the mind sees. It's the kind of effect that's generally only achievable in stream-of-consciousness fiction, and unbelievably moving.

Howard Franklin's screenplays include 'The Name of the Rose' (co-writer) and 'Quick Change'. His first film as director, 'The Public Eye', opened earlier this year.

(Photograph omitted)

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