#236: La Strada (1954)

When and how did I watch this?

September 5th, 2015, on YouTube.

Had I seen this film already?


What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Yet another foreign film, but more western influenced (Italian) and featuring a more simplistic plot. I checked a synopsis to get a grip on it in case I got lost again. I also discovered it was the first foreign film to win the related Oscar.

What do I know about it now?

Fabulous, captivating film.  It’s surprising how little action occurred in the film, yet how much was actually happening to the characters involved.  I was moved several times. Several wide shots of the scenery created a strange juxtaposition of beauty and disaster, and the realization that two people were quite alone in their misery amidst daily throngs.

What are some themes in the film?

Compassion, shame and dignity, ignorance, foolishness, love, fate.

Did this affect me personally?

Yes. Again, what didn’t happen seemed to hit me harder than what did.

Why is this ranked #236?

Its lack of a precedent in Oscars for foreign films probably helped a little.  Otherwise, it’s difficult to describe exactly why it’s on this list.  I feel like the average viewer wouldn’t understand what makes this film so fascinating — though, to give them the benefit of the doubt, both Departures and The Underground were on here, also both culturally relevant and complicated films.

Did my wife watch/like it?

Yes, and she enjoyed it.

Would I watch it again?

I might take another look at it sometime.  While the film did exactly what it was supposed to do for me, I feel like there’s more I could garner from a second viewing.

Would I recommend it to a friend?


Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

Certainly.  I wasn’t sure about it walking in, but the directing and screenwriting turned out to be genius. I hope it never gets bumped off, because I think more people should be willing to give foreign films a try, particularly this one.

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