The Road (1954) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

  • 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.

  • Gelsomina lives a quiet life with her mother and three sisters. However, this sheltered existence is shattered when a travelling showman, Zampano, pays her mother so that Gelsomina will travel with and work for him. She is initially a reluctant participant in his line of work but soon tries to make the most of it, even learning some new skills. However, she has to contend with his brutish, unfeeling behaviour.

  • Free-spirited Gelsomina is sold to the surly traveling circus performer Zampanò as his assistant. Traveling from town to town to perform, a strange bond develops between the two as Gelsomina learns her purpose in life and Zampanò realizes too late his attachment to her.

  • Gelsomina is sold by her very poor mother to Zampanò, an itinerant strongman. She follows him on the road ("la strada") and helps him during his shows. Zampanò ill-treats her. She meets "The Fool", a funambulist. She feels like going with him, but he puts confusion in her mind by pointing out that perhaps Zampanò is in fact in love with her ...



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