Memories of Marcello

Less a documentary than a memoir, the absolutely enchanting film Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember features Mastroianni reminiscing about his life and career, his extensive travels, the people with whom he worked (directors Fellini, Visconte, De Sica) and, above all, his love for the cinema. You don't have to be terribly familiar with the Italian actor's own body of work to enjoy his observations and recollections, though after seeing the numerous film clips contained here, you will want to go out and rent his movies. (In a frustrating oversight, the clips are not identified.) An international star who received three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor (all three films were in Italian), Mastroianni reveals himself to be an intelligent, modest, totally unpretentious man with an ingenuous curiosity about the world, a zest for living, and a genuine ability to appreciate his great fortune. "I consider myself a lucky man," he confides at one point. "I like people. I love life. Perhaps that is why life has loved me in return." Directed and edited by filmmaker Anna Maria Tato, Mastroianni's companion for the last 22 years of his life (he died in 1996), the movie contains rarely seen screen tests and film clips, footage of the actor accepting several awards, and a home movie of his 72nd birthday celebration. As a child, Mastroianni adored movies, American as well as European, and he evinces the same sense of wonder and excitement when he speaks about them 60 years later. The mark of a good raconteur is that whatever he talks about becomes interesting for the listener, and no matter what subject Mastroianni broaches, the viewer wants to hear more. At nearly three and a half hours, I Remember demands a definite time commitment on the part of the viewer, but it is worth every minute. Tato refers to the film as a "portrait," and certainly it is, but because of Mastroianni's deep passion for his medium it is also, perhaps above all else, a valentine to the movies.


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