La strada. 1954. Italy. Directed by Federico Fellini. Screenplay by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano. With Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Baseheart. In Italian; English subtitles. 108 min.
Gelsomina is the tragic woman who, sold by her mother, becomes the abused servant to Zampanó, a circus strongman. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “The movie is the bridge between the postwar Italian neorealism which shaped Fellini, and the fanciful autobiographical extravaganzas which followed.” Indeed, the story is fanciful—and especially wretched for the naïve and innocent Gelsomina. When Zampanó kills the Fool, his rival in the circus, Gelsomina disconnects from reality, sending the once-impervious strongman into despair.