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Archive for February 22nd, 2009

strada-12 

by Allan Fish

(Italy 1954 105m) DVD1/2

Aka. The Road

All clowns are unhappy

p  Carlo Ponti, Dino de Laurentiis  d  Federico Fellini  w  Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli  ph  Otello Martelli  ed  Leo Cattozzo, Lina Caterini  m  Nino Rota  art  Mario Ravasco, E.Cervelli

Giulietta Masina (Gelsomina di Constanzo), Anthony Quinn (Zampano), Richard Basehart (Matto), Aldo Silvani, Marcello Rovena,

La Strada is a film that still provokes argument to this day.  Fellini enthusiasts bickering for over forty years on whether his later gargantuan pieces of semi-autobiography (such as ) are superior to the smaller scale, neo-realist influenced films of the fifties (such as I Vitelloni and Nights of Cabiria).  In truth, to truly appreciate Fellini’s genius, one must have it all, the small scale joys and the seemingly oversized but scathing later works.  They are all circus acts on the same bill, a bill comprised for over thirty years of Fellini’s oeuvre.  Certainly one cannot argue with Martin Scorsese when he said that, if you had to watch only one Fellini film to grasp his essence, it would have to be La Strada.

            Set in the years just after the war, itinerant strongman Zampano buys the half-witted daughter of a war widow for 10,000 lire to teach her to be his assistant.  Thus sold into effective slavery, she follows him with a childish sense of adventure, a sense of adventure sadly checked by Zampano’s brutality.  However, the couple soon run into a rival attraction, the tightrope walker known as the Fool, and Gelsomina befriends him instantly, as they share the same sense of wonder. (more…)

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