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 was working on a film with Giulietta Masina when she introduced him to her husband, Federico Fellini. Fellini was immediately convinced that the American actor would make the perfect Zampano the strongman in his new film, which was to become (La Strada (1954), and implored him to accept the role. The nonplussed actor, who had no idea who Fellini was, initially turned him down, but Fellini was persistent, pestering him for days about the project. Shortly thereafter, Quinn spent the evening with Ingrid Bergman and her husband, director Roberto Rossellini. After dinner, the three watched Fellini's most recent film, the comedy-drama (I Vitelloni (1953), and Quinn realized with astonishment that the crazy Italian filmmaker who had been hounding him for days was a genius. 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 »
Often it is hard to find a romance which does not include actual romance - i.e. - liplock, hugging scenes. The viewer is overflowed with emotion because the film itself focuses on human emotion, and is a pure amusement to watch because of the many symbols. When Zampano tries to steal a silver heart from the church and Gelsomina pleads with him not to, we can only think of the cold silver heart, his sad action of trying to "steal" such an emotion as "love", Gelsomina's soft nature - this film overflows with such subtleties, but such subtleties! so impactful in conveying emotion..
Gelsomina's faith to Zampano is heartwrenching - she is presented with opportunities to leave Zampano, such as leaving to the nunnery or joining the circus, but she declines all. This fidelity builds up, only to have.. well, let's just say that Fellini is especially skillful in drawing your sympathy and then channeling for it in a single scene.. he knows how to focus and concentrate your emotion, I felt sort of violated after watching the film, since I rarely cry for movies! Also, if the symbolism does not stir a reader to interest, the amazing cinematography will. The tightrope act atop the city buildings, the motorbike rides, the Christ ceremony-
This movie is unpredictable and is interesting to watch, since it keeps the mind afloat with the different scenes which are packed with symbols and metaphors, wonderful puzzles to decipher. Since Fellini does not present it straight-forwardly, and rather wraps meaning in several layers of symbols, uncovering the truth becomes fulfilling for the viewer.
The way Fellini develops his characters is unforgettable. We feel their demise, but urge to see and understand more. I feel only Fellini can accomplish such a remarkable quality. And in case you didn't get the gist of my rating (and my ranting).. 4 stars. Please rent this and enjoy, Fellini's incredible! :o)
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