best film: Juliet of the Spirits passed La Strada on my all-time list in 2016 or so when I saw it last. I currently have it as the 80th best film of all-time and La Strada as #86 so it’s extremely close. In La Strada Fellini is still is heavily influenced by neo-realism. He’s in full-blown expressionism in Juliet of the Spirits (11 years later) and he’s able to experiment with color (his first color film). Masina is magnificent in both.

best performance:  La Strada. In Juliet, Masina is the essentially the camera. She’s a character of course but she’s the narrative driver who is our center and POV in which we view all of these dazzling expressionistic characters and Fellini’s world. In La Strada, Masina is an object. She’s the Chaplinesque tragically sad victim of near neo-realism circumstance (and Anthony Quinn’s abuse). As I said above when debating what her best film is she’s fantastic in both—but I think her work in La Strada is truly special- one of the best performances of the entire 1950’s- male or female

stylistic innovations/traits: She only has seven archiveable films and one is a cameo (Rossellini’s Paisan) so clearly I’m a believer that she makes the most of her six other films. Specifically, it’s those top three, all with Fellini, that are truly transcendent. Those are three towering performance and I don’t think any actress can match a top three with hers.  Masina can play tragedy, be the clown (the influence of Chaplin on her as an actress and comedian is readily apparent—she’s often dancing, playing a clown, or accentuating the physical performance with her small playful frame or round animated face).

directors worked with:  Fellini (5), Rossellini (2) and it’s the work here with Fellini that is truly special. Most think of Mastroianni when they think of Fellini actors and that’s fine Marcello is an all-time great actor—I’m not sure Masina’s 1-2 punch can match La Dolce Vita and 8 ½– but they didn’t make five films together like Fellini and Masina did and their third best film/performance (didn’t have one) can’t touch Cabiria (best actress winner at Cannes).

Top 10 Performances:

  1. La Strada
  2. Juliet of the Spirits
  3. The Nights of the Cabiria
  4. Il Bidone
  5. Europa 51’
  6. The White Shiek
  7. Paisan

Archiveable films

1946- Paisan
1952- Europa 51′
1952- The White Shiek
1954- La Strada
1955- IL Bidone
1957- The Nights of the Cabiria
1965- Juliet of the Spirits