Federico Fellini, Italy, France, 1973
Amarcord tells the story of a small, rural Italian village living under the rule of fascism. Fellini starts and finishes his film at the start of springtime. This allows us to see how each season transforms the town and the habits of its inhabitants. In this scene Fellini films the first falls of snow, allowing him to draw his characters in relation to their reactions to the weather: the ecstatic children; the sceptic who say it won’t last; the man trying to capture sparrows on a black sheet; the street sweepers who clean the roads while the bourgeois play snooker, nicely ensconced in the warmth of the café; the moaner; the storyteller who can tell you the history of all the snows in the region; the lady of the night using the snow as a scenic device as she parades her patch, like a white background to her red and black clothes.
Obviously, Fellini didn’t wait to film all of this under real snowy conditions, but filmed it using fake snow, which they could control with ease. Fake snow is very ‘readable’ as a part of an image, with its nice, clearly defined, big flakes. For the morning of the second day, the scenic artists created great big banks of snow running along the streets, creating a fantastical landscape where only the heads of characters could be seen moving around here and there.