La strada (lit. ‘”The Road”‘) is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini from his own screenplay co-written with Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. The film tells the story of Gelsomina, a simple-minded young woman (Giulietta Masina) bought from her mother by Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutish strongman who takes her with him on the road.
The idea for the character Zampanò came from Fellini’s youth in the coastal town of Rimini. A pig castrator lived there who was known as a womanizer: according to Fellini, “This man took all the girls in town to bed with him; once he left a poor idiot girl pregnant and everyone said the baby was the devil’s child.” In 1992, Fellini told Canadian director Damian Pettigrew that he had conceived the film at the same time as co-scenarist Tullio Pinelli in a kind of “orgiastic synchronicity”.
Zampanò, art by Nadir Quinto