La StradaDirector: Federico Fellini
Acclaimed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini drew on his own circus background for the 1954 classic La Strada. Set in a seedy travelling carnival, this symbolism-laden drama revolves around brutish strongman Zampano (Anthony Quinn), his simple and servile girlfriend Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina, Fellini's wife), and clown/aerialist Matto (Richard Basehart). Appalled at Zampano's insensitive treatment of Gelsomina, the gentle-natured Matto invites her to run off with him; but Gelsomina, like a faithful pet, refuses to leave the strong man's side. Eventually Zampano's volcanic temper erupts once too often, leading to tragic consequences. Written by Fellini and Tullio Pinelli and scored by Nino Rota, La Strada was the winner of the first official Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, awarded in 1956.
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Cast & Crew
|Richard Basehart||Matto "The Fool"|
|Al Silvani||Mr. Giraffa|
|Livia Venturini||The Sister|
|Dino de Laurentiis||Producer|
|Franco Ferrara||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Brunello Rondi||Art Director|
|Nino Rota||Score Composer|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The bruttishness of Zampano in this film has impacted and haunted me for many years. Gelsomina's simple mindedness at times has shocked me because of her tragic end and how Zampano, at least I like to think so, suddenly realizes how he did love her and now has lost her and there is nothing he can do about it. The backdrop of Italy and the sense of the life struggle of poverty to simply survive is so touching the way it is portrayed in this film. Also, the sad main melody theme is one I've played on the piano many times over the years.
Stark, brutal, sad, cruel, hopeless and depressing, and there isn't a thing you can do about it except watch this tragedy play out. Anthony Quinn cruelty seems almost too real. You become his victim, too.
This is a nice one to own. It's the sort of movie you can watch over and over. And, despite the art house label, its a good movie for the whole family -- at least those 9 and over. I think my six year old might find it a little dull. The story is a simple one with three characters -- Zampano (Anthony Quinn), Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), and the Fool (Richard Basehart). In a lot of ways, the sea might be seen as a fourth character. There are a number of scenes where the camera captures the sea. What the sea might represent is one of the more interesting things to contemplate while watching this movie. But you do see it at several key points in the movie, so it is important. At the beginning of the movie, Zampano gives Gelsomina's mother a pile of Lira and hires her as his assistant. It's never clear whether he has bought her as a slave, as a wife, or is just hiring her as an employee. Zampano travels the Italian countryside (always near the sea) and stops at a village for a day or two to camp and do his show. In the show, he is a strongman who knows just one trick -- breaking a chain with his chest muscles. As Gelsomina becomes more comfortable, Zampano works her and a comedy routine into the act. In one town, Gelsomina meets the Fool and there is a conflict that, later, results in the death of the Fool. This brings about a tremendous change in Gelsomina and, well, you have to watch and experience the rest for yourself.