La Strada

Movie Information

In Brief: Though I'll take The White Sheik (1952) for my dose of early Fellini any day of the week, I don't deny the greatness of La Strada (1954) and I certainly understand its appeal on numerous levels. While The White Sheik looks forward to the more fantastic works of Fellini from the 1960s, La Strada is brimming with the basic iconography of the filmmaker — from Gelsomina's (Giulietta Masina) cloak to the circus aspect of its story and beyond. It is also Fellini's most Chaplinesque work, and not just because Gelsomina is herself Chaplinesque in appearance. On the one hand, La Strada might easily be viewed as the the dark counterpoint to Chaplin's The Circus (1928) — and it is very dark indeed. But more, it has the feel of earlier Chaplin. There's a sense of the film being built around a basic story, but made in such an off-the-cuff manner that it feels unscripted. It exists in that realm of poverty so endemic to Chaplin, especially early Chaplin. To wit, Gelsomina — who is at once Chaplin and a Chaplin heroine — comes in for bullying and punishment at the hands of brutish oaf Zampano, which would not be out of place in a 1916 Chaplin short. There's a freshness here and an obvious and deep love for early cinema that is most appealing.
Genre: Drama
Director: Federico Fellini
Starring: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere
Rated: NR

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present La Strada Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.