I admit:  this is the second time I’ve seen Amarcord, and it’s also the second time I’ve had to stop the movie in the middle for some sleep before picking it back up from the beginning the next day.  And while I could give several reasons why I needed a break, including having just taught a long day of classes, or the boyfriend coming down with the aches and pains of stomach flu, or the cold, windy weather that would bring down four inches of snow over the night, I’ve found that it’s usually much easier to blame the artist.

So, I blame Fellini for my inability to stay awake.  I blame Federico for the fractured narrative and picturesque vignettes that make it easy to hit the stop button, yawn, and go downstairs for a shower.  I place the blame squarely on his shoulders for the continual breaking of the fourth wall, Brechtian-style and for Nino Roti’s infectiously jazzy score.  I blame him for sending lyrical puffballs in the air; for community bonfires that celebrate the Bakhtinian carnivalesque; for lawyers and other intellectuals interrupted with fart noises; for schoolboy crushes and urine-soaked pranks; for lusty, callipygian women and even lustier, but less booty-licious men; for crazed family dinner; for priests fussing with flowers; for automotive circle jerks; for ridiculously trumped-up and smoky Fascist parades; for a Mussolini composed entirely of flowers; for a Grand Illusion-like shoot-out (of a poor gramophone playing the “L’Internationale” instead of an fife-tooting, escaping prisoner); for castor oil toasts that signal the dark side of flatulence; for the Grand Hotel with its vampiric princes, midget emirs and Bollywood fantasy harems; for dwarf nuns from insane asylums; for Fascist steamships; for white bulls appearing out of fairy tale-thick fogs; for Grand Prix racers who lose their ears; for peacocks pluming their tailfeathers in the middle of winter; for funeral processions draped in black; for the irony of rain on your wedding day; and, once again, for those damn puffballs.

The stomach flu, on the other hand, I blame on students who don’t wash their hands before handing in papers.