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
Director Federico Fellini has admitted that he each of the principal characters in the film represented the elements. Zampanò represented the Earth, Gelsomina represented water, and the Fool represented air. 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 »
What a funny face! Are you a woman, really? Or an artichoke?
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It's always risky to write a critical review of a revered film that is over 50 years old (or, these days, over 5 years old!). But I do wonder about La Strada. On the face of it, a film that folds us into its inner content, of poverty and hope, but from this distance does it not all seem rather contrived? The two main protagonists are so opposites that they never come close- so how to deal with their relationship? As David Thomson (2008) says in his short essay on this film 'it's my hunch that not many people could endure La Strada today without some numbing potion'. The key character in the film seems to be the "fool" - a far more interesting person than either the Quinn or Masina characters. Gelsomina (Masina) is a simpleton and although we might love her to bits (mainly because of her innocence and her smile), she remains just that - a simpleton. Zampano is a simple male bully who needs no sympathy from us - not even at the end.
In the 1950s I can see that this was breaking new ground and, as such, is to be admired. But does it hold today? I doubt it given the extreme (and characterised) positions of the two chief protagonists.
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