The idle class is somberly portrayed in Federico’s authentic, frequently depressing I Vitelloni, a downbeat tale set in small-town Italy soon after the war. Fellini depicts a series of friends, led by Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), who talk a big game about grand plans to escape their penniless existence, but never get around to doing any of it. Fausto in particular seems stuck in an endless loop of uselessness: he impregnates his best friend Moraldo’s (Franco Interlenghi) sister Sandra (Leonora Ruffo), and proceeds to nearly flee in fear—stopped only by his furious father, who demands they wed—and then begins one callous act after another designed only for his immediate pleasure, thinking nothing of his pregnant wife’s, or his friends & family’s, well-being and happiness. Among his discouraging actions: putting the moves on his boss’ older wife (after his father went out on a limb to get him the job), leaving mid-film to follow a seductive woman to her home while Sandra sat obliviously in the theater, and sleeping with a lady after a drunken night out on the town and gloating to Moraldo about it right after. Only after he’s utterly humiliated and realizes that his tiny shell of family is about to go up in smoke does he make a real effort at reform and maturity, which Fellini nicely bookends with a second chance encounter with the sexy theater woman. Still, the ultimate feeling of I Vitelloni is one of hopelessness: only Alberto’s (Alberto Sordi) sister is able to, despite intense pressure from her loved ones, pluck up the courage to leave behind her close-knit family environment and take off with her lover, a suave silent type who looks right out of the French New Wave, until Moraldo follows suit at the end. Meanwhile, the impoverished town goes on as it always has, with little opportunity, even less emotional fulfillment, and even less strength to leave it all behind.