November 10, 1956 [La strada, I vitelloni]

Two movies this year from Italy--specifically, from Federico Fellini--one, I vitelloni, about some rootless guys wandering around their hometown, trying to figure out how to grow up--and I thought that was just an American problem, the bunch of us wanting just to have a catch and walk down Main Street at night--not too late, and in perpetual spring--and shoot the breeze over a bottomless cup of Joe at the corner joint, bright lights encasing us, keeping us safe.

But the other one, La strada, came from the barren plain and wooded hill outside of town, where the Brothers Grimm found strange goings-on by firelight and moonlight, the little wilderness circus always arriving and leaving, the small woman smiling like Harry Langdon--while the big man breaks a chain stretched across his chest--every day the same one, the same trick, until he breaks her heart--then his. It was a fearsome cry raised up, but just beyond earshot of those buddies in I vitelloni drifting away--while one of them, Moraldo, gets on the train and into the countryside, past the little motorcycle-wagon where Gelsomina cries "Zampano!" over and over. I vitelloni has an off-camera ending, somewhere in the city--where promises might be kept, as melancholy as they may seem at first--while La strada goes the other way, toward the sea--then backs away in pity and fear at Zampano finally crying back to Gelsomina, roaring like a train.


  1. It was great to see Quinn in his Italian pre-incarnation and the alluring Mrs Fellini to others it's a blur on receding memory lane..


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