La Strada - Italian existentialism a la Ibsen.
Federico Fellini's "La Strada", the way I look at it, is not about the character and protagonista Gelsomina, beautifully played by Giulietta Massina, as much as it is about Zampanó (Anthony Quinn).
Federico Fellini asks a fundamental question: is Gelsomina's literally self-annihilating love enough to save the brute Zampanó who never loved anybody but himself? Even in the closing scene, senselessly drunk on the beach at sunrise, Zampanó cries out: "I need nobody!", whereupon the sun rises. Light floods the scene, is it the rays of love, the light of hope, we don't know.
Fellini, well versed in classic existentialism; literature, theater and drama, e.g. in Ibsen, Kierkegaard, Strindberg, and others, refers here, I think, to the final scene in Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt". Peer's lifelong self-love is juxtaposed against Solveig's lifelong and unselfish love for Peer who finally sees, but maybe still does not fully understand. Thus, when the last scene fades out, or rather: the curtain falls for the last time, Zampanó's fate and Peer's is still pending decision, namely: Zampanó's (or Peer's) own decision".
I strongly recommend this film, it is arguably (one of) the best film(s) ever.