Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 1954
UK: BFI Collections
Cast: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere, Livia Venturini
Director: Federico Fellini
Country: Italy
Language: Italian (English subtitles)
UK: 104 mins
UK Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 9 November 2001 (Limited Re-release - London)


ZampanÚ (Anthony Quinn) is a travelling street entertainer who hires a peasant girl called Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) and pays her mother as part of the deal. ZampanÚ forceably teaches Gelsomina to help him as if he was training an animal and he seduces her. When she attempts to form a relationship with him - he rejects her. When she flees - he tracks her down and assaults her.

ZampanÚ joins a circus with Gelsomina in tow. While there ZampanÚ's violent tendencies surface and he attacks a tightrope walker called Il Matto (The Fool) played by Richard Basehart. This time ZampanÚ is imprisoned for his actions.

While ZampanÚ is serving his time behind bars Gelsomina has an opportunity to escape the clutches of ZampanÚ and stay in a convent. She turns this down having been persuaded by Il Matto that ZampanÚ needs her and waits for his release instead.

On leaving prison ZampanÚ takes to the road and accidentally kills Il Matto. The psychological repercussions of this are too great for Gelsomina to deal with and it tips her over the edge as she loses her sanity. ZampanÚ is unable to understand Gelsomina's dependence on him and his on her and so leaves her. Several years later he hears that she died alone on a beach at night and he finally realises his dependence on her.

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