Friday, October 1, 2010
La Strada. A-
I liked this movie so much more than I'd anticipated I would, which alone puts me in a good mood. But it's also nice just how strong the film is on its own. Fellini puts to use his usual visual flair, but it all comes across subtly because the story's told on such a small scale. La Strada starts out as a friendly, at times daunting fable of a man named Zampano and his purchased female companion traveling around entertaining people. But once the Fool (a dexterous circus artist) is introduced, Fellini introduces profound beauty into the narrative. The Fool is essential to the film for a few reasons. He's an enemy of Zampano, which leads to some bitter conflicts and a conclucison that is tragic. But the Fool is friendly to the girl (Giulietta Masina-Fellini's real life wife), offering some insightful words of wisdom to raise her esteem. It's because of him that the girl is able to find a positive outlook on life and continue on her journey. But then Zampano accidentally kills the Fool, which in turn causes the downfall of the girl. The wheels that turn after this tragedy are incredible. The murder destroys the girl because the Fool helped her so much, and it destroys Zampano because he, in some way, loves the girl and cannot cope without her. This is a somber piece from Fellini, not as philosophical or romantic as his most famous work, but beautiful in the way it manages to produce so many dramatic ironies with such a simple premise.