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Joan E. Bauer: Dear Federico

Tonight, we’re watching Amarcord,

your dream-mix of homage, fable & satire.

The boisterous half-grown schoolboy Titta,

the fiery father, the long-suffering mother.

Not your true story, but surreal comedy.

Odd characters, much like your first humorous

columns in Rome’s bi-weekly Marc’Aurelio:

diva, handyman, maid, tobacconist, portrayed

with affection, alongside articles attacking France,

Roosevelt & the Jews. Fascist Italy, 1939.

Politics was never your province. Hard

to hate anyone, even the Blackshirts? 

When Titta’s father is arrested, suspected

of broadcasting ‘The Internationale’

from the church tower to mock the Fascists,

he’s not killed, but forced to drink an oozy

flood of castor oil. Then the comic washdown.

True, the ocean liner Rex never sailed past

Rimini, your hometown, but each year, a bonfire

to celebrate winter’s end. The spoofing of priests

& schoolmasters, the gorgeous & gullible Grandisca.

I love this movie. The nymphomaniac, the crazy uncle.

The breath-stealing beauty of the snowfall, the peacock.

Was it Rossellini who urged you, Federico,

to become a director? A good job for a liar:

you have to pretend to know everything.


Copyright 2022 Joan E. Bauer. First published in Main Street Rag.

Joan E. Bauer  is the author of two full-length poetry collections, The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008) and The Camera Artist (Turning Point, 2021). For some years, she worked as a teacher and counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA where she co-hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series with Kristofer Collins.   

Still shot from Amarcord by Federico Fellini

5 comments on “Joan E. Bauer: Dear Federico

  1. johnlawsonpoet
    April 23, 2022

    I never knew about Fellini’s journalism during the Fascist era. The poem captures the ambivalence I feel about another Mussolini supporter, Ezra Pound–an aesthetic adventurer from whom I’ve learned much, but the politics…ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ssteph2013
    April 23, 2022

    This brought so many memories of the film back! How I loved it. An interesting take on Fellini as well. Inspires me to want to read more about him.

    Liked by 2 people

    April 23, 2022

    Superb poem! I might’ve added the ridiculous blue Visqueen ocean movie set, such great humor in that, I’ve never forgotten. So funny because there’s so much available real water and he did that. Too much!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2022 by in Art and Cinema, Poetry and tagged , , , , , .

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