It is important to keep in mind that "Armarcord translates to "I remember. This film is a look at Fellini's youth through his own point of view. The very title tells us that he will not be an objective storyteller-what we see is what Fellini saw. Granted, this is a fictional film, and with Fellini's magical imagination, reality blossoms into exaggeration and hyper-reality. This is how Fellini uses his medium to displays his feelings about his past.
Fascism undoubtedly played a tremendous role in young Fellini's life. We are aware of its presence very early in the film and it most certainly had to affect everyone in Italy at he time. Aside from the scenes that demonstrate physical brutality, it seemed to me that much of this film dealt with symbolic and subtextual notions about Fellini's hatred of fascism.
The first sense of terror I get is at the bonfire. With thick smoke nearly blinding the crowd, a bunch of men stomp on fireworks, causing people to scream and add to the bizarrely chaotic nature of the scene. The burning carcass of the witch is a frightening sight. After viewing this film, I am able to say that black smoke is a motif in this film; it appears often as a