Sad story of a waif, Gelsomina, who is sold by her mother to Zampano for 10,000 lire and a few kilos of food. Zampano is a traveling showman who exhibits feats of strength by breaking a chain wrapped around his chest. He performs in village squares and then passes the hat for whatever the normally small crowd is prepared to give. He teaches Gelsomina a drum roll as part of his introduction. He doesn't treat her well and when she tries to run away, he beats her. They eventually join a small traveling circus where they meet a tight-rope walker who convinces Gelsomina to question her choices. Written by
Anthony Quinn said in an interview a few years before his death that he originally accepted a deal that would have paid him a percentage of the profits this film generated instead of an upfront salary. When his agent found out about it, the agent changed the deal and insisted an upfront salary and no percentage. Quinn said that decision cost him several million dollars. See more »
The fire at the building in the mountains changes four times as Zampanò leaves Gelsomina. When he removes the tripod, it is ashes with one or two charcoal sticks, the next times there are more sticks, the next shot shows a large pile of sticks and the last shot of the fire shows it roaring with flames. See more »
[reciting his act by rote before a crowd]
Here we have a piece of chain that is a quarter of an inch thick. It is made of crude iron, stronger than steel. With the simple expansion of my pectoral muscles, or chest, that is, I'll break the hook.
[collecting money from the crowd]
Thank you, thank you. Now, to do this feat, I must fill myself up like a tire. If a blood vessel should break, I would spit blood. For instance, in Milan a man weighing 240 pounds lost his eyesight doing this trick. That ...
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La Strada brings two souls together to tell a story that ultimately displays humanity's finer aspects. The title gives a clue to the meaning of Fellini's masterpiece: The Way. The brute, Zampano, buys the urchin-like Gelsomina to be his traveling companion in his one-man carnival act. He is physically and emotionally cruel to her. Her longing to love and be loved, and her child-like, yet acute perception of life, and desire to live it, despite hardships, makes her the perfect complement to the selfish and despicable Zampano. Their unification affects each other. However, although Zampano's harshness adversely effects Gelsomina's life, it is her influence that will eventually, and more significantly, change him. This may sound like the familiar Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, but it is more than a love story. It is about love, but it isn't until the very end of the film that we realize it. More than love, it is about a man who gains insight and awareness because of love. It is his finale transformation that demonstrates both the frailty and vitality of the human condition. It overpoweringly suggests that the individual, no matter how depraved, is able to spiritually evolve.
Every frame and scene in this masterpiece has purpose and meaning.
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