Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Holy fool: La Strada (1954) w/ James Matthew Wilson

By Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 11, 2022 | In Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast

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A poor, half-witted girl is sold by her mother to be the assistant of a brutal traveling circus strongman in La Strada (“the road”). Federico Fellini’s 1954 masterpiece, included on the Vatican film list in the category of Values, attests to the seeds that can be planted by selfless love, even in the face of abuse and rejection.

Condemned by Marxist critics in 1950s Italy for its spiritual view of suffering, the film found a better initial reception in the United States, where viewers saw Giulietta Masina’s unforgettable protagonist as a “cross between St. Rita and Mickey Mouse”. Today La Strada is universally considered a classic.

From the beginning, Catholic viewers have found found much to appreciate—Pope Francis, who was 17 when the film was released, calls it one of his favorites.


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas in Houston

James Matthew Wilson

Nathan Douglas

Music is The Duskwhales, “Take It Back”, used with permission.

Criteria is hosted by Thomas V. Mirus and James T. Majewski.

Thomas is Director of Podcasts for and hosts the Catholic Culture Podcast. See full bio.

James is the Director of Customer Relations for as well as the host and narrator for Catholic Culture Audiobooks. See full bio.

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