La Strada

Looking for an assistant, the brutish circus strong man Zampano (Quinn), buys the innocent and slow-witted Gelsomina (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. Made between the neo-realist leanings of I, Vitelloni and the glamorous excesses of La Dolce Vita, this is no less recognisably the work of Fellini. With heart-rending performances from Quinn and Fellini’s wife Masina, he guides the film deftly from bittersweet comedy to tragedy. La Strada has the timeless quality of a fable.

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