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Unleashing the Animal
Zampano has given his and Gelsomina's services to the circus, and after The Fool interrupts him during his chain-breaking performance the strong man seeks to tear him apart. Fellini shows Zampano exiting the circus tent with no shirt on. He prowls around obstacles, climbs on platforms for a better view and gets low to the ground in search of his prey. This imagery reveals the animalistic nature of a human being, and Zampano represents 'the body' in this story. And, this scene shows the wild and dangerous nature of this man has been unleashed as he uses all of his body to search out The Fool.
Sin and Redemption
As a procession of the cross moves through the city streets into the cathedral, Fellini gives us a very distinct image. He composes the procession with the cross heading into the doors of the church on the right, with a sign for a bar on the left of the frame. This image evokes the ideas of redemption and sin all being in one place. That both ideas exist next to each other and it is man who must choose between the two.
Gelsomina goes with a group of children during the wedding reception to see a young boy who is kept in his room, locked away from the other guests. This image provokes the idea that we as a society choose to isolate and hold captive those with disabilities. That they are our shame. The image compliments Gelsomina in that she doesn't fully understand that the same thing is happening to her in a different way by Zampano. She dances around in the room as if to entertain the boy, not realizing that Zampano is holding her emotionally hostage by refusing to connect with her in any meaningful way.
Kneeling Before the Sea
Before Zampano takes Gelsomina away from her home we see her kneel before the sea. Fellini uses the bodies of her mother, siblings and Zampano as leading lines to direct our eyes to Gelsomina in the distance. The imagery as we see her back provokes her yearning to stay at her home as when she kneels the remaing sand consumes her, and the water's break doesn't touch her in the visual image. But, when Fellini shows her front on we see that she is full of joy as her eyes well up with tears. Fellini is a master, and this shot is one reason why. He is able to evoke both the feeling of mourning having to leave those she loves, with the pure joy of being able to create a life of her own, to see the world, to be somebody. And this is represented primarily by the sea, in that it both gives and takes.
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