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La Strada [DVD] 
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Classic Italian drama co-written and directed by Federico Fellini. The film follows Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), a young girl who is sold by her impoverished mother to a travelling performer named Zampano (Anthony Quinn) in exchange for some food. With his act involving breaking a metal chain wrapped around his chest, Zampano attempts to incorporate Gelsomina into his routine by teaching her to perform a drum roll as part of his introduction. However, when the pair join up with a small travelling circus, fellow performer Il Matto (Richard Basehart) soon questions the way Zampano treats Gelsomina, leaving her facing a number of tough choices as she contemplates her future. The cast also includes Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere and Livia Venturini.
Considered by many to be Federico Fellini's most beautiful and powerful film, La Strada was the first film to reveal the range of Guilietta Masina, whose poignant performance as the childlike Gelsomina recalls Chaplin's Little Tramp. The bubbly, waiflike Gelsomina is a simpleton sold to the gruff, bullying circus strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) as a servant and assistant. Treated no better than an animal, Gelsomina nonetheless falls in love with the brute Zampano. When they join a small circus they meet Il Matto (Richard Basehart), a clown who enchants Gelsomina and relentlessly taunts Zampanograve;, whose inability to control his hatred of Il Matto (literally, "the Fool") leads to their expulsion from the circus and eventually to the film's fateful conclusion. Masina is heartbreaking as the wide-eyed innocent, whose generous spirit and love of life leads her to try to "save" Quinn's unfeeling, brutal Zampanò. Though the film resonates with mythic and biblical dimensions, Fellini never loses sight of his characters, lovingly painted in all their frailties and failings. Fellini's lyrical style reaches back to the simple beauty of his neorealist films and looks ahead to the impressionistic fantasies of later films, but at this unique period in Fellini's career, they combine to create a poetic, tragic masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to the VHS Tape edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a film that you can watch time and time again. It may be viewed as a simple "road movie", but it also operates at a deeper level as an allegorical quest for the very essence of life. La Strada is, quite simply, a masterpiece.
On a technical note, the sound and picture quality of this VHS version are excellent, and the subtitles are always very clear.
Indeed, although Fellini's film could be regarded 'simply' as a human emotional tragedy, the director has imbued it with a realism signifying wider social relevance, as cinematographer Otello Martelli captures its poverty stricken (mixed urban and rural) milieu brilliantly in its southern central Italian locations, as well as including religious themes in its memorable scenes of a Catholic procession and Zampano and Gelsomina's overnight stay at a convent. Fellini also makes a darkly comic comment on Italy's renowned strong family bonding, during the film's brilliant opening sequence as Gelsomina's mother criticises her daughter ('She's a bit strange') and is quite willing to take Zampano's 10,000 lire to allow Gelsomina to join him on his travels ('We can mend the roof and eat for a time'). It is during these early scenes where the Gelsomina character's comic influence is most obvious (Charlie Chaplin) - as are the film's influences from silent film generally, with its focus on physical, visual comedy - and during which Gelsomina learns of Zampano's brutal (and womanising) nature.Read more ›
The story concerns a young girl Gelsomina, played by Giulietta Masina who is sold by her poverty stricken mother into virtual bondage to Zampano a circus strongman, played by Anthony Quinn. We then follow her travels with Zampano on the road. Zampano is a brutish insensitive bully with no redeeming features. He is happy to steal from and assault people with little or no provocation. Much of his time is spent drinking and in the pursuit of any women that will fall for his dubious charms. But somehow the simple minded Gelsomina comes to love him despite the cruel way in which she is treated. Her innocence and optimism is never broken by Zampano. On the way she meets a circus acrobat played by Richard Basehart who changes her outlook on life. Events lead to an inevitable tragic finale.
Fellini wrote the role of Gelsomina for his actress wife Masina. It was certainly a juicy role which she made the most of and steals the acting honours, which is quite an achievement given the performances of Quinn and Basehart who were very good indeed. Masina's facial expressions and her body movements are certainly reminiscent of the silent comedians as has been pointed out in the past.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was interesting to watch but seems very dated and slow in black and whitePublished 2 months ago by Rozfran
This version came with Japanese and Korean subtitles, not the English and Korean stated on the website.Published 3 months ago by Daniel J Willis
One of my top ten films of all time - Fellini at his most touching.Published 4 months ago by L. M. Keane
Excellent. Wonderful classic film. Dvd in perfect condition.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
La Strada is a brilliant film by Fellini, i like Fellinis filmsvery muchPublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
La Strada (1954) was the first of what Federico Fellini expert Peter Bondanella calls his `Trilogy of salvation or grace', the other two being Il Bidone (1955) and The Nights of... Read morePublished on 26 Jan. 2015 by Film Buff