Fellini’s La Strada (The Road) is a much-loved and touching tale about two travelling circus performers and was the first film ever to be awarded an Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Film.
Looking for an assistant, the brutish circus strong man Zampano (Anthony Quinn), buys the innocent and slow-witted Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) from her impoverished mother and the pair take to the road with a travelling circus.
Life with Zampano is violent and unpredictable and when Gelsomina falls in love with a high-wire artist, The Fool (Richard Basehart), Zampano’s volcanic temper erupts with tragic consequences. Characteristically mingling elements of biography with metaphor and symbolism, La Strada combines an easygoing charm with a hard-edged realism.
Giulietta Masina (Fellini’s wife) is astonishing in the central role and the evocative Nina Rota score and Otello Martelli’s ravishing photography make La Strada an unforgettable experience.
Made in 1954, the film was a turning point in Fellini’s career and contains many of the visual trademarks that would establish his style of filmmaking as ‘felliniesque’.