It's great to see the music of Nino Rota getting so much attention. He was a wonderful composer, and the ballet suite from La strada may be his orchestral masterpiece (just a quick note: the French language title identifies this as a suite from the eponymous film; it is in fact the more familiar arrangement of the later ballet). There are now four competitive recordings of this piece, the least interesting of which is on Chandos with the Teatro Massimo orchestra: not bad, but not as well played or recorded as either Muti's slightly stiff version with the excellent La Scala forces, or Atma's brilliant recent release featuring the Greater Montréal Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. All of the couplings differ in various ways, though Muti also has the dances from Il gattopardo (The Leopard).
Pietro Marcello directs this genre-defying Italian docudrama that follows mustachioed ex-con Enzo as he returns to Genoa after a long stint in prison, only to find that the city he once loved has changed almost beyond recognition. But as he combs the seaside town for hints of his past, he finds solace in the arms of Mary, his faithful lover and a transsexual who embodies the mysterious allure of Genoa itself. Mary Monaco and Vincenzo Motta star.
Returning home after a night of love spent in a woodman's hut with Orsola, Pietro is arrested by the police for a crime he did not commit. His mother and youngest sister, Rosaria, go to Orsola begging her to provide Pietro with the alibi that will clear him. But Rocco, Orsola's brother, dreading a family scandal, constrains Orsola to silence. Condemned despite his innocence, Pietro escapes from prison, but the police track him down and kill him, and his mother, before the eyes of Rosaria.