Tuesday, March 20, 2012

La Strada

When her sister dies, a poor seaside girl is forced into an apprenticeship with a travelling circus strongman to support her family. After enduring the brute's ill temper for a period, she finds a possible means of escape with a brazen acrobat, but her predicament, feelings for her boss, and an unforeseen tragedy prevent her from leaving. "La Strada" is an early masterwork from legendary Italian director Federico Fellini which he based on his early experiences in the circus. Giulietta Masina, Fellini's wife who would leave an equally indelible impression a few years later in "Nights of Cabiria", is excellent as the simplistic and sullen assistant. Anthony Quinn likewise is great as the vile strongman whose heart is not totally hardened. "La Strada" is a stark and affecting Neorealist work from a master, centered on two wonderful performances.