LA STRADA (1954) B/W 94m dir: Federico Fellini
w/Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, Aldo Sivani, Marcella Rovena, Lidia Venturini
An altogether beautiful movie, both touching and amusing, magnificently acted by Masina and Quinn. A brutal, itinerant performer (Quinn) takes in a pathetic but rather nutty waif (Masina), and her devotion to him is repaid with insults and indifference.
From Georges Sadouls' Dictionary of Films : "Fellini seems most concerned with an analysis of the feminine condition represented by the 'woman-as-object,' as passive as a pebble, created for no other purpose than to make love and food. Gelsomina's [Masina] search for her own identity is central to the film. Fellini told me he knew he had achieved his aim when he received a letter from a woman who said, in substance: 'My husband treats me like a Gelsomina. We went together to see La Strada and he cried and asked my forgiveness.' Fellini's ending has been discussed at length but this letter would seem to prove that the important aspect of it is Zampano's [Quinn] tears. Zampano is a symbol of all men for whom women are predestined household drudges, the counterpart in the home of the exploited workers.
"It is this theme that lies at the heart of La Strada 's success with the public, for it profoundly moved the majority of women and exasperated many men. Far from betraying neorealism [the film was attacked by left-wing critics as a betrayal of that movement], Fellini enriched it by guiding it along a new path."
Produced by Carlo Ponti, LA STRADA won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.