On March 23, Armageddon Time , the new film by James Gray , director of Ad Astra and Once Upon a Time in New York , will hit theaters from Universal Picture .
Armageddon Time is part of a consolidated tradition, in auteur cinema: the autobiographical or semi-autobiographical film with which a director recounts his training, childhood and adolescence, to also arrive at the birth of his passion for the cinema.
We have seen many examples lately, from Belfast to The Fabelmans , but there are many other films to be rediscovered in this vein. On the occasion of the release of Armageddon Time, let’s rediscover some of the most famous.
The 400 Blows (1959)
The first of a series of films with which François Truffaut recounts the growth of young Antoine Doinel ( Jean-Pierre Léaud ), the director’s alter ego. In Paris in the 1950s, Antoine lives in a difficult family and seeks an escape route in the cinema. A journey which reflects the training of Truffaut himself, who became a film critic and then a director within the French movement of the Nouvelle Vague, here at his directorial debut.
Perhaps the most famous film of this vein, the one that inspired many of the rivals who came later ( Spielberg’s The Fabelmans himself ). Federico Fellini recounts his adolescence through a third party in Amarcord : the protagonist, and his alter ego, is in fact the young Titta ( Bruno Zanin ), grappling with the sexual impulses of adolescence in Rimini in the early 1930s, at the height of the fascist. Amarcord (contraction of the Romagna dialect “A m’arcord”, i.e. “I remember”) recounts a year in Rimini and is a succession of colorful and folkloric characters to which Fellini has accustomed us. The title has even entered the Italian lexicon, to express the impact that Amarcordhad on the imaginary. Oscar for best foreign film.
American Graffiti (1973)
In the same year of Amarcord , George Lucas also recounted his adolescence with American Graffiti , the story of a group of friends grappling with the routine of the last night of summer vacation in 1962. Set in Lucas’ hometown of Modesto, California, the film looks nostalgically and regretfully back to an era of innocence, which is inevitably shattered in the finale, when one of the friends, Curt ( Richard Dreyfus ), leaves for Vietnam. The cast includes Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith and Harrison Ford . A jewel of pre- Star Wars George Lucas to be rediscovered.
New Paradise cinema (1988)
Salvatore Di Vita ( Marco Leonardi ) is a successful director who has never returned to the Sicilian village where he grew up, Giancaldo. Until one day he discovers that Alfredo ( Philippe Noiret ), projectionist of the cinema of the country and his friend and mentor, is dead. This prompts him to remember his childhood in a long flashback, and finally to return to his homelands. Nuovo cinema Paradiso was also awarded the Oscar for best foreign film and was also very successful in the United States.
Life is a Dream (1993)
Richard Linklater takes the lesson of American Graffiti his own , to create a sort of remake set in the following decade, the ’70s. An era of great upheaval, between the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, which marked the end of the revolutionary dream of the late 60s. In this limbo move the characters of the film, teenagers of a small town in Texas, grappling with love, bullying, rites of passage and growth during the last day of school in the summer of 1976, in the year of the bicentenary of the founding of the United States. There are two alter egos of the director in the film: on the one hand, the rebel Randall “Pink” Floyd ( Jason London), who rattles at the idea of being framed only as the star of the school football team, and dreams of much more. On the other hand, young Mitch Kramer ( Wiley Wiggins ), who is leaving middle school and preparing to face high school. Over the course of one fateful day and night, both will understand something of themselves and will discover that life is much more than they have previously believed. Also in the cast is a young Matthew McConaughey , outstanding as the happy-go-lucky Wooderson.