Skip to content

Directed by Federico Fellini

Italy 1954 104 mins. In Italian

Perhaps Fellini’s greatest film, La Strada straddles his early neorealist period and his later magical and fantastical work, combining elements of both in its portrayal of Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), a naive young woman who was sold to the strongman Zumpanò (Anthony Quinn). Zumpanò makes a living performing in small countryside towns, and Gelsomina quickly takes to performing, playing music and clowning. But when she meets the Fool (Richard Basehart), a high-wire walker, Zumpanò’s place in the pecking order is threatened, which leads the two men, and ultimately Gelsomina, down a dangerous, tragic path. “As ever for il maestro, life is both cyclic odyssey and circus, a teeming, tragicomic arena of pain, cruelty and solitude. Despite the pessimism of much of the story, memorably embodied in the grey, desolate towns the pair visit, Fellini has already moved far from his roots in neo-realism; symbols, metaphors, and larger-than-life performances hold sway, and moments of bizarre if inconsequential charm abound.”—Geoff Andrew, Time Out. “I have a profound admiration for Fellini. I met him lately and he’s just fantastic. I feel very close to him even though he’s very Italian. But his films could have been made in every country. When I say, I feel close to him, then also because we’re both born on January 20th.”—David Lynch.