Thursday 31 October 2013

La Strada [1954]

La Strada was one of Fellini’s most celebrated movies and a seminal work of Italian Neo-Realism even if Leftist film critics attacked it for abandonment of classic neo-realist aesthetics. Wrought with innumerable production challenges and roadblocks, it was, like all his major works, imbued with deeply personal touches on account of his experiences with the circus. His affinity towards a carnivalesque, deliberately overdone and highly subjective style, which reached gargantuan proportions in his subsequent masterworks, can be traced back to the serio-comic, bittersweet, “realistic” and comparatively sedate earlier efforts like I Vitelloni and this. And, in its Chaplinesque protagonist played by his actress-wife Giulietta Masina, we had one of the most unforgettably expressive faces. It begins with Gelsomina (Masina), a naïve, gullible, dim-witted and soft-natured young woman being married off to the gruff and brutish circus strongman Zampano (Anthony Quinn) by her impoverished family. Zampano’s life is on the road, and she becomes his fellow-traveller as he moves around the country to display his strength. On the course of their lives as vagabonds, she meets the clownish high-wire artist “il Matto” (Richard Basehart) who loves playing a beautiful tune on his miniature violin which affects her profoundly. It deftly portrayed the lonely, lovable protagonist’s pathos, heartbreaks, craving for love and acceptance, and the few moments of joy in between, and what emerged was a movie filled with humanism, religious symbolism, spiritual crisis and poetic imagery, with the recurring and haunting theme music composed by Nino Rota forming the leitmotif for her tragic coming-of-age journey.

Director: Federico Fellini
Genre: Drama/Road Movie
Language: Italian
Country: Italy


Yayaver said...

excellent choice ... and keep the good work going. In the times of twitter, blogs seems like marathon :)

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Yayaver. Good to see you after a long time :)