Studiocanal has financed a 2k digital restoration of Federico Fellini‘s La Strada (’54). Opening in a few UK theaters on 5.19, a Bluray sure to follow. An appropriately boxy aspect ratio. God protect this little classic from anyone who would advocate a 1.66:1 slicing. Criterion’s DVD version looks pretty great. I’m wondering how much of a Bluray “bump” can be expected.
The older I get, the more difficult Giuletta Massina‘s performance is to take. Yes, I understand that the film depends upon her character being child-like and extremely vulnerable. Yes, I understand that you can’t apply realism standards to her style of acting, and that it can only be processed as Chaplinesque mixed with Italy’s commedia dell’arte. It just requires a certain effort to get past all that.
“Zampano vs. Il Matto,” filed on 8.5.07: “As I was re-watching that beautiful Criterion DVD of Federico Fellini‘s La Strada a couple of weeks ago (for Jett’s benefit, as I felt he was now, at age 19, old enough to get it), I suddenly detected a striking parallel between my soured relationship with MCN’s David Poland and the one between the irreverent, philosophical-minded tightrope walker who is inaccurately called “Il Matto” (Richard Basehart) and the humorless and brutish Zampano (Anthony Quinn). Basehart confesses to Guilietta Massina at one point that he can’t help provoking or making fun of Zampano, even though he knows he may be putting himself in harm’s way by doing so. This exact same observation is made by Martin Scorsese in the video doc that accompanies the film. It’s odd how films, even ones you think you know backwards and forwards, sometimes pass along these little moments of clarity.”