Wednesday, January 20, 2016

La Strada (1954)

Today's film is La Strada, a film that doesn't end well for the characters. I wonder if this film has to do with Italy itself after it lost WWII.  I tried looking up "La Strada" and all I got was directions to a local Italian restaurant. :(

It starts off with the death of Zampano the Strongman's assistant, Rosa.  He goes to her mother's house and asks to purchase her other daughter, Rosa's sister, Gelsomina.  Gelsomina is a simple, naive person and is forced to go with him as his new assistant.

Zampano and Gelsomina travel across the country as vaudeville performers.  Zampano is a strongman who has one stale act, while she learns to play instruments and entertain as a clown.  He doesn't treat her well, beats her, and sleeps around with any woman who says hello to him.

They are invited to work as part of a circus, but that doesn't go well either.  A high-wire act known as "The Fool" loves to taunt Zampano, and the angrier he gets, the funnier it seems.  Eventually, Zampano pulls a knife on him and is sent to jail.  The circus fires both of the men, and ask Gelsomina to stay with them.  But she refuses and goes to the jail to pick up Zampano.  The Fool also asks her to go with him as part of his show, and she refuses as well.  Later, she meets a nun who almost gets her to stay, but she will still not leave him.  Maybe she is more afraid of the unknown than she is afraid of staying with him.  She is a very simple person and doesn't know any better.

Later, Zampano and Gelsomina come across The Fool, who is changing a tire by the roadside.  This prompts Zampano to kill him, which devastates her.  He abandons Gelsomina while she is sleeping and drives off.  She cannot handle both the death of someone who was actually nice to her and her abandonment.

A few years later, Zampano learns what happened to her.  A woman tells her that her family found her on the beach, but she never spoke and eventually wasted away and died.  Did he learn anything from this?  Probably not.  I will give this film an 8/10.


  1. I know this is supposed to be a story about knowing your call in life, but to me it is a story about missed opportunities. Gelsomina has so many chances for a better life, yet choses an asshole who leaves her to rot.

    1. Sadly many women are just like this... maybe it is better to take chances.