This week’s film is La Strada (The Road), is a 1954 Italian drama directed by Federico Fellini.
La Strada, is considered the most personal film of the great maestro of Italian cinema. As Fellini said, it is "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever."
A film with great difficulties during shooting, injuries, financial problems and finally, just before shooting was completed, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that needed medical treatment in order to complete principal photography.
Shot almost entirely outside, a genuine road movie, La Strada tells the tale of Gelsomina, played by Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina, a young naïve woman who is forced to live on the road with Zampano (Anthony Quinn) a strongman who performs in villages, in order to make a living. Their encounter with his old rival, the Fool (Richard Basehart) causes their destruction.
Masina gives a fantastic performance, almost overshadowing the great Antony Quinn. She is truly the tragic character of Gelsomina. Funny but sad at the same time. A true comedian.
Fun Fact: A remarkable characteristic of the film, is the fact that two of the stars are non-Italian and actually do not speak a word of Italian! That was no problem though, as it was a common practice at the time to shoot the film with no sound. So the English speaking actors (Quinn and Basehart) were shooting the film speaking English and the rest Italian cast, in Italian.
La Strada is one of the most acknowledged films of all time. It won the first Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956 and was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of cinema's top 10 films.
My Film Club
Week #3 featured the most personal film of the Great Maestro of Italian cinema. Week #4 will be about the master of suspense!
Next week’s film: Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds
Ever since I first set foot on a cinema theatre, I knew that something magical was happening there....