Giulietta was robbed once in the street… One day she was taking some things to the jewelers to be mended, two rings and some platinum cuff links of mine. We were just turning the corner of Via Margutta, and a Lambretta with two boys on it came past. Giulietta was talking to me and didn’t notice at first that one of the boys had snatched her bag. As soon as she told me, I bounded off like a kangaroo, yelling, “Stop, thief!” So the boys on the scooter started yelling, “Stop, thief!” as well. I followed them round the corner of Via Babuino, and there was a big lout of a policeman with a helmet and a gun, lolling on an enormous motorcycle. “They’ve stolen my wife’s bag!” I said. He looked at me and sneered, “What am I supposed to do about it?”
When I came home the next afternoon, there was a man propped against the wall reading a newspaper. “Eh, Federí,” he said, “why don’t you take a look in Trastevere?” When I started asking him who he was and to repeat what he had said, he said he hadn’t spoken. So I went to Trastevere and wandered about. I went into a bar at one point and a boy said to me, “Giulietta shouldn’t have gone to the police station.” “Why not?” “The stuff, you want it back or not?” I was really enjoying all this. So I gave him our telephone number. After a few days a man telephoned and asked for Giulietta. He said a little boy had brought him a packet and told him to ring that telephone number. He gave the name of a bar in Trastevere, so I went there that afternoon and the packet was waiting for me in the drawer of the cash register. They didn’t want anything, no reward, nothing. And the next day we got a letter saying, “Pardon us, Gelsomina.” Dickensian stuff, no?
— Federico Fellini, 1988

Giulietta was robbed once in the street… One day she was taking some things to the jewelers to be mended, two rings and some platinum cuff links of mine. We were just turning the corner of Via Margutta, and a Lambretta with two boys on it came past. Giulietta was talking to me and didn’t notice at first that one of the boys had snatched her bag. As soon as she told me, I bounded off like a kangaroo, yelling, “Stop, thief!” So the boys on the scooter started yelling, “Stop, thief!” as well. I followed them round the corner of Via Babuino, and there was a big lout of a policeman with a helmet and a gun, lolling on an enormous motorcycle. “They’ve stolen my wife’s bag!” I said. He looked at me and sneered, “What am I supposed to do about it?”

When I came home the next afternoon, there was a man propped against the wall reading a newspaper. “Eh, Federí,” he said, “why don’t you take a look in Trastevere?” When I started asking him who he was and to repeat what he had said, he said he hadn’t spoken. So I went to Trastevere and wandered about. I went into a bar at one point and a boy said to me, “Giulietta shouldn’t have gone to the police station.” “Why not?” “The stuff, you want it back or not?” I was really enjoying all this. So I gave him our telephone number. After a few days a man telephoned and asked for Giulietta. He said a little boy had brought him a packet and told him to ring that telephone number. He gave the name of a bar in Trastevere, so I went there that afternoon and the packet was waiting for me in the drawer of the cash register. They didn’t want anything, no reward, nothing. And the next day we got a letter saying, “Pardon us, Gelsomina.” Dickensian stuff, no?

Federico Fellini, 1988

Fellini and Masina on the set of La Strada.

Fellini and Masina on the set of La Strada.

"Giulietta has a gift for evoking a kind of waking dream quite spontaneously, as if it were taking place outside her own consciousness. With her clown-like gift for mimicry, she embodies in our relationship my nostalgia for innocence. When I was in the States with her, after La strada, people didn’t know whether to smile at her or kiss the hem of her garment. They saw her as someone halfway between St. Rita and Mickey Mouse.”
Federico Fellini on Giulietta Masina, born 91 years ago today.

"Giulietta has a gift for evoking a kind of waking dream quite spontaneously, as if it were taking place outside her own consciousness. With her clown-like gift for mimicry, she embodies in our relationship my nostalgia for innocence. When I was in the States with her, after La strada, people didn’t know whether to smile at her or kiss the hem of her garment. They saw her as someone halfway between St. Rita and Mickey Mouse.”

Federico Fellini on Giulietta Masina, born 91 years ago today.

La strada // dir. Federico Fellini

La strada // dir. Federico Fellini

Fellini and Masina on the set of La strada

Fellini and Masina on the set of La strada