A classic British social realism film about a young machinist who spends his weekends drinking and partying, all the while having an affair with a married woman. Directed by Karel Reisz and produced by Tony Richardson, it is an adaptation of the 1958 novel of the same name by Alan Sillitoe, who also wrote the screenplay adaptation.
Looking for an assistant, the brutish circus strong man Zampano (Quinn), buys the innocent and slow-witted Gelsomina (Masina) from her impoverished mother and the pair take to the road with a travelling circus. Life with Zampano is violent and unpredictable, and when Gelsomina falls in love with a high-wire artist, The Fool (Richard Basehart), Zampano’s volcanic temper erupts with tragic consequences.
Made between the neo-realist leanings of I, Vitelloni and the glamorous excesses of La Dolce Vita, this is no less recognisably the work of Fellini. With heart-rending performances from Quinn and Fellini’s wife Masina, he guides the film deftly from bittersweet comedy to tragedy. La Strada has the timeless quality of a fable.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, we’re exploring our collective past through a season of exceptional British movies.
My Beautiful Laundrette
Director: Stephen Frears. Starring: Daniel-Day Lewis, Gordon Warnecke. UK 1985. 97 mins.
Featuring Daniel Day Lewis in his breakthrough role as a right-wing extremist who falls for a Pakistani man, inadvertently stirring racial prejudices throughout their South London neighbourhood, Stephen Frears' iconic film is both a touching romance and a powerful depiction of the struggles of minorities in Thatcher’s Britain.