Los Angeles Times - 01/14/1994
"...LA STRADA brought a kind of poetry to the screen that dazzled audiences at the time and still works today..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 04/01/1994
"...Like a painter with a few favorite themes, Fellini would rework these images until the end of his life....LA STRADA is the first film that can be called entirely 'Felliniesque'..."
Entertainment Weekly - 11/21/2003
"...The entire cast is marvelous..."
USA Today - 11/28/2003
"If you see just one film from director Federico Fellini's early period before 1963's 8 1/2, it ought to be this tearjerker."
Uncut - 08/01/2005
"Fellini's lyrical road movie from 1954....Whimsy and tragedy collide..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La Strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a brutal traveling strongman. They join up with a traveling circus, where Zampano encounters his old rival, tightrope artist The Fool (Richard Basehart). With La Strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty. The Criterion Collection is proud to present La Strada, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1956.
Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a performer in a traveling carnival outside of Rome, purchases the young, poor Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) to be his wife and assistant. Although she shows genuine enthusiasm as an assistant, putting on a fabulous clown act akin to Charlie Chaplin, nobody seems to appreciate her; she quietly endures a life of emotional coldness and cruelty. When she meets "The Fool," Ilmatto (Richard Basehart), a quicksilver trapeze artist who befriends her and offers her warmth, kindness, and an uplifting vision of the world, Gelsomina convinces herself that she and Zampano are in love. She is plunged into despair, however, after Zampano interferes in a jealous rage, precipitating a tragedy that will haunt him forever. Federico Fellini establishes a style and certain key themes in this film that he repeats as trademarks in subsequent films: the beach as a symbol of purity and release; haunting, soft female singing as a symbol of memory; examinations of Catholics and their religion as a cult behavior; and, above all, a chaotic, circus-oriented cyclical pattern that guides his films. The Oscar-winning LA STRADA is the perfect place from which to begin an exploration of Fellini's expertly crafted movies.
LA STRADA is the spellbinding story of a young, simple waif, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) who falls in love with a coarse circus strongman, Zampano (Anthony Quinn). This cinematic work of art reflects the brutal side of the human condition in a disturbingly clear fashion. Director Federico Fellini has created a film equivalent to poetry, its surreal circus sets transformed into bleak prisons, with Gelsomina's constant crying and misery. While LA STRADA is a deep and emotional film, it also contains some of the most lively and comic sequences in film history, making it a masterpiece that should not be overlooked.
Zampano, a performer in a traveling carnival, purchases the poor, young Gelsomina to be his wife and assistant. She quietly endures a life of emotional coldness and cruelty; only Ilmatto, a quicksilver trapeze artist who befriends Gelsomina, offers her warmth and kindness. When Zampano, in a rage, accidentally kills Ilmatto, Gelsomina is plunged into despair, precipitating a tragedy that will haunt her husband forever.
Essential Cinema |
Love Story |
LA STRADA received an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and a nomination for Best (Original) Screenplay.
Giulietta Masina, the star of LA STRADA, was Fellini's wife. She also starred in NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1956).
Fellini is often associated with the neorealist movement of film, which was popular right after the end of WWII in the 1940s and early 1950s. LA STRADA seems to ride the tail end of the movement, holding on somewhat to the personal narrative structure of neorealism, yet moving into surrealism with more magical escapist qualities built into the actual filming.
Starting with I VITELLONI (1953), Fellini's musical scores were composed by Nino Rota, who combined circus anthems with pop music, adding the melancholy sounds of saxophones, accordions, and trumpets to achieve the eery/cheery effect in the music.
Martin Scorsese says of LA STRADA, "After 40 years, [it is] even more compelling and lyrical."