Fellini has called La Strada "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever." As a result, the film demanded more time, effort and suffering than any of his other films, before or since. The development process was long and tortuous; it was extremely difficult to secure financial backing; casting proved problematic; injuries, personnel changes and inclement weather disrupted the production schedule more than once; budget shortages constantly plagued the director and his production supervisor, forcing them to take extraordinary measures to keep going. Finally, just before shooting was completed, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that necessitated medical treatment in order to complete principal photography. Initial critical reaction was harsh, and the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival was the occasion of a bitter controversy that escalated into a public brawl between Fellini's supporters and detractors.
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