Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|La Strada - Essential Art House|
Actors: Anthony Quinn, Guilietta Masina
Director: Federico Fellini
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Federico Fellini had been making films for a few years, but with the 1954 release of La strada, the Italian director set himself on his way to becoming one of international cinema's household names. A delicate, immensely m... more »
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It's the things we don't see that really make this film so i
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 10/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the finest films ever made; `La Strada' is a magnificent feat in cinema. I have been a fan of Federico Fellini ever since seeing the magnificent `8 ½', but I must confess that `La Strada' is the best film I've seen from him and the one that will continue to shake me for years to come. A beautiful, yet tragic tale of love and ignorance, and love IN ignorance, `La Strada' is a priceless portrayal of ones inability to transcend their own ingrained survival instincts and embrace what is right in front of their face; love.
The film seems like a simple tale. Gelsomina is the eldest child in a poor single parent family who is sold to Zampano, a muscle-bound sideshow act who had previously purchased Gelsomina's sister (who is now deceased). Gelsomina is a simple girl, not too intelligent and completely naïve to the way of the world. Zampano is not much different though, even if he seems it. He too is a simple man, but he is less ignorant when it comes to the world and more ignorant when it comes to human relationships. He seems on the outset to be cruel and demanding, but he is merely acting in the only way he understands, most likely the way he was treated as a child. He thus treats Gelsomina, not as a lover or a wife but as a child, disciplining her with beatings and putting her down, constantly controlling her. When one really dissects his actions though, they are clearly expressions of love gone terribly wrong.
Unlike the `monsters' created in cinema today to express the severity of spousal abuse, Zampano is far from a monster. He is a confused and conditioned man, lacking the ability to break his shell and better himself.
Gelsomina is your typical victim, but her stunted comprehension of society's workings makes her almost a victim of herself. She finds herself thrust into a world that she is not privy to, and instead of learning to adapt she forcibly resists, or just cowers in cowardice. She lacks the drive to find herself, even though she is given the perfect opportunity to become her own person. When she does attempt to make those steps she backs down at the first sign of opposition, which leads her to coil back even further into the shell she builds to protect her from harm.
The one thing that I think cannot be argued, but so frequently is, is the fact that Zampano and Gelsomina are in love. I know that this may seem odd and maybe even impossible when one looks at the events taking place, but events must be considered in context, and context to me proves that these two were ignorant in their own understanding of love, thus they acted foolishly and tragically in the name of a feeling they were too prideful, and maybe even stupid, to acknowledge. I don't want to get into much of the film, and especially not the ending, but when one watches the film I think it is important to look at the unseen as much as the seen. The actors do a masterful job of exposing their character's inner motives without really exposing them, keeping up a guard and making you wonder.
When that guard is broken down by the discerning viewer a completely different conclusion can be drawn.
The performances are all brilliant, especially Giulietta Masina who is startling as Gelsomina. Her almost speechless performance is elevated by her ability to convey so much with her face (that cute little artichoke). She has an almost theatrical quality that really fits the tone of the film well (beings that the circus is a major theme) and so it shows that she was observant of her character's surroundings and incorporated them into her performance. Anthony Quinn is also stunning as Zampano, giving him a layer of almost undetectable vulnerability (like I said, the unseen). I also really enjoyed Richard Basehart's jovial portrayal of Il Matto, Zampano's circus rival. His character is really one of the most challenging to discern, but when one finds their impression of the man then, and only then, can they understand their feelings of Zampano and Gelsomina. He is really the crux in their relationship, and ones impression of Il Matto greatly influences their impressions of the two leads.
This film is truly an outstanding cinematic accomplishment and rests easily at the top of my personal favorite films of all time. It is beautifully shot, expertly paced, crisply directed, brilliantly acted and, above all else, marvelously written. It covers all of it's bases in a way that many films cannot.
This one is definitely essential!"
Great movie, great actors
Patrice Deware | New Orleans | 09/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Concerning the story: the frail girl Gelsomina is sold to the bully Zampano, who treats her dismally. They tour the country with a circus, until the sad climax of the story.
What makes this movie so special are the two main characters, who deliver a tremendous performance. In addition, the movie is made in black and white, with harsh and sharp contours; a feeling of loneliness permeates the visuals, the actions and the dialogues. One scene jumps out that underscores the sadness of the story. As Zampano buys an icecream at a little stall towards the end of the movie, he doesn't lick at the cone. Instead he pushes it into his mouth and swallows it completely, without stopping to taste it. It is visuals like this that turn this movie into such a strong account of suffering people, lost in a harsh, lonely world."