Simple and servile, Gelsomina, is purchased from her impoverished mother by brutish circus strongman Zampanò. She loyally endures her husband’s abuse as they travel the Italian countryside performing together. When Zampanò encounters an old rival, his fury is provoked to its breaking point.
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This is one of the cruelest and most beautiful pictures ever. Difering from his fellow cinematic mates that said that god is dead, Fellini still believes that god is alive: he sees him in music, in confusion, in the joie de vivre or in life itself.
It really doesn't come to its own until the 2nd third with the introduction of the fool. Prior to that, it lays the ground work for the relationship between Gelsomina and Zanpano but never develops it. Once all 3 players in this trinity are on the board, it becomes an unexpectedly violent affair as the 2 fools respectively tempt and salvage Zanpano's fate.
This may well be Fellini's most emotional and tender work and is a film that seems to only get better with age. Has there ever been a portrait of machismo greater than Quinn's turn here? Giulietta Masina gives a classic performance as Gelsomina, the young girl sold to a travelling 'performer' to be his assistant, who has to come to terms with her fate and loveless life. The film is essential cinema.
You get the feeling that he's not absolutely sure what it is he wants to say. Of course, I've always felt he was essentially a technical film maker. Granted, La Strada was a great film. Great in its use of negative imagery more than anything else. But that simple cohesive core... I found it incredibly indulgent. You know, he really is. He's one of the most indulgent filmmakers. He really is.
(Sunday, May 17, 2009 10:02am)
Giulietta Masina performed one of the most beautiful and difficult characters ever filmed in the history of the cinema. This film belongs to her, not only because of her performance, but the richness of her presence in the movie. La Strada is captivating! Great Movie 9.5/10.