La Strada


La Strada (The Road) is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini from his own screenplay co-written with Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. The film portrays a brutish strongman (Anthony Quinn) and the naïve young woman (Giulietta Masina) whom he buys from her mother and takes with him on the road; encounters with his rival the Fool (Richard Basehart) end with their destruction.

Fellini has called La Strada "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever."[1] As a result, the film demanded more time, effort and suffering than any of his other films, before or since.[2] The development process was long and tortuous; it was extremely difficult to secure financial backing; casting proved problematic; injuries, personnel changes and inclement weather disrupted the production schedule more than once; budget shortages constantly plagued the director and his production supervisor, forcing them to take extraordinary measures to keep going. Finally, just before shooting was completed, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that necessitated medical treatment in order to complete principal photography. Initial critical reaction was harsh, and the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival was the occasion of a bitter controversy that escalated into a public brawl between Fellini's supporters and detractors.

Subsequently, however, La Strada has become "one of the most influential films ever made", according to the American Film Institute.[3] It won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956.[4][5] It was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of cinema's top 10 films.[6]

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