I saw La Strada (The Road) the other night, the first time I’ve seen it on a big screen.
One of my companions questioned whether there was interiority to the characters. For me there was, it was just that was part of the point, how the presentations of solutions of self may become a mask that alienates, Zampano the strong man, The Fool too.
Gelsomina for me was different, as she has no fixed solution to self, she morphs and adapts, she does know herself I think (happy to leave home) but doesn’t seem to know she knows herself, perhaps, or consistently. She develops as she meets the world. She consistently meets and is accepted by the open hearted.
It strikes me she is an artist, finds bliss – take her wandering in a garden of sorts to end up planting tomatoes. She connects. It may be poetry of a fool, (and there is a line of thought that poets are such) but is poetic, connection to bliss. That sequence reminded me of scenes in Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice, but I’m not sure why, it may simply have been a similar sort of scrub land and the taking in of the landscape – that may be superficial and a tangent. But proof of her artistry may be her musicality. The Fool does not teach her his whole theme, or if he does we do not see that, and when could he have done so. But she has heard it, remembers it, plays it beautifully. Not quite Mozart in The Sistine Chapel, but impressive.
And in her I might read an artist’s lot, unique, lost when her strange connection to bliss is not heard, understood, nurtured for what she is, but is mocked. In a way as I think that I also have to note her relationship to The Fool (another artist), and then Giulietta Masina’s relationship with Fellini and think how maybe they knew of the value of each stone and of growth, allowing.
Many people at our screening found this film deeply pessimistic, also unrealistic. I see a realism beyond simplicity, and feel only hope, for the redemption of moments, and that we may recognise these follies we’re shown, that our ways may be known and understood with such care, and when they may seem quite beyond such understanding amongst the most outcast and beyond care. I must remember this, it is healing.
A. H / K. H-H (6/5/18)