I finally got to sneak a double movie day in again. I honestly don’t really know what happened to the rest of the day to only allow me two films, but I fit them in and I’m happy that I did. I started my day off with the film that would have been my second viewing of yesterday had I been able to fit it in.
La Strada (1954, Dir. Federico Fellini)
I know that La Strada is the more highly regarded by critics between it and last night’s viewing Nights of Cabiria (1957) (though critics love Nights as well), but I prefer the later. Don’t get me wrong La Strada still get’s a solid 4 stars from me, but I prefer the pure characters study of Nights of Cabiria to the more plot focused La Strada.
Alright had to get the comparison away as I watched them consecutively and they are the same actor director pair. Giulietta Masina (who I only realized today was married to Fellini) is once again fabulous. She’s such an expressive actress reminiscent of silent era performers. Each facial expression makes a perfect screenshot for a wealth of emotions. Her character Gelsomina is tragic as she’s forced to endure countless emotional and physical abuse from Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) the troubadour who purchased her to act in his performances. Through the countless tribulations Gelsomina goes through, Masina remains constant in her portrayal. Gelsomina is naive, devote, and playful: a simply wonderful character.
My second film of the day was completely unrelated to the works of Fellini, but it is a film that’s come up for me multiple times in the past few weeks.
Rachel Getting Married (2008, Dir. Jonathan Demme)
I’m not Anne Hathaway’s biggest fan. She’s always seemed too polished and plastic to me. Even in her Oscar winning performance in Les Misérables (2012, Dir. Tom Hooper) the grime covering her character just felt like a costume; it was just a mask for someone who never personally underwent trouble to wear. It wasn’t until I saw her in Colossal (2017, Dir. Nacho Vigalondo) that I really appreciated her performance. That was the first time I saw her depth and range playing an alcoholic.
It turns out that she is just excellent at playing an addict because I’m in love with her performance as Kym a young woman on leave from rehab in order to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. Hathaway embodies the young woman completely portraying the arrogance of a woman who is going through the steps of becoming clean though clearly stuck on the Integrity step. Her apologies are about herself and the worst decision of her life was her mother’s fault. Despite the character flaws, it’s also apparent how much Kym lover her family and they for the most part lover her. Unlike her performance in Les Misérables the ugliness in Kym doesn’t appear as a mask over an impenetrable Hathaway. It feels genuine and earned in tandem with the good. I wish that this were the performance that earned her the Oscar.