La Strada (1954)
A modern picaresque parable . . . full of truth and poetryThe New York Times
The Calgary Cinematheque is pleased to present a new print of Federico Fellini's classic La Strada. Winner of over fifty prizes, including the first Oscar given for Best Foreign Language Film, La Strada established Fellini's international reputation. This 1954 tale of the waif Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), sold by her mother to the travelling strong man Zampano (Anthony Quinn), is one of the undisputed classics of post-war Italian cinema and, indeed, of world cinema. In a celebrated performance that is often compared to Chaplin, Giuietta Masina plays the child-like assistant and traveling companion of the brutish Zampano, who travels from town to town with his pitiful chain-breaking act. In spite of her harsh treatment at the hands of Zampano, Gelsomina gradually embraces this life of performance, and with the help of another performer, the high-wire acrobat called The Fool (Richard Basehart), she comes to understand her purpose in the universe. Alternately funny, disturbing, and heart-breaking, La Strada is a moving combination of Italian neo-realism and fairy-tale romanticism, with a haunting score by the acclaimed film composer Nino Rota.
For all its sentimentality, this overshadows virtually everything Fellini has made since La Dolce VitaGeoff Andrew