The Nights of Cabiria (1957) Poster

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10/10
"Dum Spiro – Spero" - While there's life there's hope.
Galina_movie_fan25 January 2005
I would not argue that there could be better films made before and after Cabiria. Perhaps. But there never will be another "Nights of Cabiria" - the last Fellini's film with the linear structure, his third and the most successful collaboration with his actress wife, Giulietta Masina, his immortal love letter to her. Of all his characters, Fellini once said, Cabiria was the only one he was still worried about. Of all the characters, I've seen in the films, Cabiria is the one I often think about - what ever happened to her? Did she survive? Was she able to find love?

I've never seen the face so alive, changing its expression every moment. If the face is the soul's mirror, Cabiria's (Masina's) face reflects her every single emotion and how effortlessly she goes from bitter cynicism to wistful yearning, from despair to hope, from tears to smile. While there's life there's hope. As long as Cabiria smiles in the end of this tragicomic masterpiece, there is hope for all of us.
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10/10
The eternal optimist
jotix1003 June 2005
Federico Fellini, the genius of the Italian cinema left his imprint in all the films he directed for all of us to enjoy forever. "Le Notti di Cabiria" stands as one of his best because of the character of that invincible woman at the center of the story: Cabiria! Having recently seen the excellent copy that was shown at NY's Film Forum, this is a film that like good wine gets better with age.

Fellini was the man whose idea was translated for the screen with his usual collaborators, Tulio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. Pier Paolo Passolini contributed to some of the dialog. Essentialy, this is a timeless tale of a woman that despite adversity, bad times, and all that is wrong around her, keeps her chin up and never begrudges a thing. In fact, Cabiria, despite of her profession, is a woman with a highly moral character.

The film takes us back to another, more innocent era. We are shown a prostitute with a heart of gold who is always cheated by most of the men who comes in contact with her. Cabiria is never resentful, or bitter at the hand life throws her way.

One of the best realized sequences of the film involves Cabiria being picked up by a handsome and popular actor, Alberto Lazzari. Alberto is about the only one in the movie that treats Cabiria with any semblance of warmth. Unfortunately, nothing happens between them because Alberto's lover, the gorgeous Jessy, arrives at Alberto's apartment to claim what's hers, leaving Cabiria shut up in a bathroom. If only her friends could see her then! Nobody would believe it!

There is not a moment out of place in the film. Of course, Fellini had the incomparable Giulietta Masina playing the leading role. Ms. Masina is just too wonderful for words. She makes us believe she is Cabiria, and that's that, which in itself it's something other actresses try harder, without the same results. Ms. Masina's face reveals all that is going on within Cabiria. Together with all her other creations in other Fellini's films, this is perhaps her own triumph as an actress.

Franca Marzi, who plays Cabiria's best friend, is also excellent. Amadeo Nazzari is perfect portraying the matinée idol, Alberto Lazzari. This was one of his best appearances in a distinguished career in the Italian cinema. The rest of the cast is wonderful.

Fellini's masterpiece is a film that satisfies any time one sees it thanks to his vision and the presence of Giulietta Masina.
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Giulietta's smile.
ItalianGerry8 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
What do I love most about Federico Fellini's wondrous THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA?

I love the opening scenes when Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) is robbed and dumped in the Tiber River, and the bikinied Roman boys jump in to save her, but she is annoyed that they have saved her life because she wants to know what happened to Giorgio, who she thinks ran away because "he was scared." He's the one who had robbed and nearly drowned her.

I love the many nocturnal scenes around the Passeggiata Archeologica in Rome where the gargoylish prostitutes, like angelic gargoyle Cabiria herself, are selected by their customers approaching in cars, and the wild and saucy humor that accompanies those scenes, particularly when they deal with one elephantine hooker named "Bomba Atomica."

I love the scene at the religious shrine of Divina Amore, where everyone comes to vociferate their desired favors, and Cabiria pleads to be released from her life as a streetwalker, and the old lame man falls at the foot of the altar, unhealed. The intensity of the build-up, the virtuosic camera work, the faces of the pious, are all breathtaking.

I love the famed scene in the sleazy theatre where Cabiria, at the hands of an unscrupulous hypnotist, relives a tender and poignant scene from her youth in front of a crowd of louts.

I love the scenes in and around Cabiria's Ostia Road hovel, and the little boys who climb giant Jungle Jims and call out her name, and she waves back.

I love Cabiria's friend Wanda (Franca Marzi), whom she loves dearly. She is a million times less vulnerable that our heroine and takes Cabiria's rants with gracious generosity.

I love the scene of that night Cabiria spends in the luxurious villa of a movie star (Amedeo Nazzari.) She is totally out of her element, doesn't recognize lobster, cuddles a cute puppy as fragile as she is, butts her head against unseen doors.

I love the deity-kissed music of Nino Rota, lilting us, as it captures the soul of Fellini's lovely wife, Giulietta/Cabiria.

And I love the overwhelming and moving finale, when Cabiria is robbed by water once more, this time by a cruel scammer feigning love and for whom Cabiria was ready to start life anew. She rises from her anguish, and as she follows the road revelers, turns and smiles to us, to ME!…the most eloquent smile in Italian artistic creation since La Gioconda.

Smile at us, Cabiria, or are you Giulietta Masina smiling now? Or both of you at once? We truly need that smile.
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9/10
The "grandest finale" ever
giannispalavos17 September 2003
It's hard to tell which Fellini's film leads the way; "8 1/2", "La Dolce vita", "La strada", "Amarcord" and so many more, you just can't choose.

But, when it comes to this beautiful picture, things become clearer. It's not just the amazing perfomance by Giullietta Masina, it's not just the wonderful, semi-crazy characters wondering around the screen and emphasizing Kabiria's sad and lonely world, it's -and that's the film's greatest quality- this sense of optimism that Fellini wants the viewer to take with him/her as he/she is leaving the theater. The master takes everything from his heroin but at the end he wants to convey one simple, eassy-to-grip but so essential message: "Please, don't give up". The power of the film's last ten minutes is unpreceded in the world of movies and, sad to say, never again have we seen such an amazing finale. This is a must-see film, and, most important of all, a film so generous to its viewers that one time is not enough. A total 9/10
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10/10
"Nights" of Fellini and Masina
jhclues18 February 2001
A prostitute whose life is a veritable study in the resilience of the human spirit is the subject of `Nights of Cabiria,' directed by Federico Fellini. Giulietta Masina stars as Cabiria, a gentle soul at heart who manages to maintain a positive outlook even in the face of adversity. Experiences that would leave those of lesser mettle jaded she is seemingly able to ward off and emerge from intact, with a guarded optimism that nevertheless leaves her open to whatever ills life may have in store for her next. But it is just that optimism and her sense of joy in the simple things that makes her so endearing. She is proud, for example, of the fact that she owns her own house, hovel though it may be. Though not one to be easily duped, she is vulnerable to sincere persistence, which has in the past rendered her victim to those who would take advantage of her, which is succinctly established in the opening scene of the film. Fellini's film is a study of how good may succumb to evil, and yet still triumph in the end (though open to subjective interpretation). It's something of an examination of endurance; how many times can one be knocked down before finally being unable to stand back up again. At the same time, however, it's an example of how purity can prevail against even the utmost cruelty. There is a humanity manifested in Cabiria that somehow gives absolution, not only to her lifestyle, but to those who would willingly do her harm. And it is in that very same absolution that we find a message of hope and redemption. As Cabiria, the diminutive Masina gives a performance that is nothing less than superlative, filled with nuance and expression. She has a face and a manner that convey an unbelievable depth of emotion, and Fellini captures every bit of it with his camera to perfection. It sometimes seems that she is a sprite merely masquerading as a woman; she has a light, almost ethereal presence, though at the same time she exhibits an earthy quality that gives her character such complexity, which removes any semblance of stereotype one may assign to her character as a `lady of the evening.' It is a heartfelt, memorable portrayal that quite simply should have earned her an Oscar for Best Actress. Turning in a noteworthy performance, also, is Francois Perier, as Oscar D'Onofrio, the stranger who comes into Cabiria's life with an offer that ultimately seems too good to be true. The supporting cast includes Amedeo Nazzari (Alberto Lazzari), Aldo Silvani (The Hypnotist), Franca Marzi (Wanda), Dorian Gray (Jessy), Mario Passante (Cripple in the `Miracle' sequence), Pina Gualandri (Matilda), Leo Cattozzo (Man with the sack) and Polidor (The Monk). `Nights of Cabiria' is a film of extraordinary depth that is beautiful as well in it's humanity; Fellini has created images, both visually and emotionally, that are stunning and indelibly realized. Highlighted by the performance of Giulietta Masina, this is a film that begs to be embraced, one that will stay with you long after the last shadow has passed from the screen into darkness. In Cabiria, Fellini somehow touches something eternal, for there is a lasting sense of innate goodness about her that simply cannot be forgotten. For seekers after wisdom and truth, this is definitely a film that must not be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
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9/10
Life is a river: not gently flowing, but a hostile swallower of the marginal.
alice liddell1 September 1999
Warning: Spoilers
Gorgeous early Fellini, often considered the mid-point in his career, between the more obviously reflective, supposedly realistic early work, and the bleak extravaganzas that followed. But Fellini was never a neo-realist in the dull way Rossellini was: his use of landscape was always heavily symbolic or subjective. Here Cabiria lives in the middle of a bleak wasteland, which perhaps serves to figure the emptiness of her life, the sterility of life for women in macho Italy, or a comment on post-fascist Italy itself.

It doesn't really matter. The sentiments of the film are actually quite trite - women are treated badly in Italy, etc. What's riveting and astonishing is not the experiences of Everywoman, but the experiences of one particular woman. Although there is a great variety of locales, and Cabiria seems to be always moving forward, the film is actually a melodrama. Cabiria never escapes, whatever her adventures, wherever she goes, she always ends up where she started, at home. Even when she finally sells her home for a supposed new life, her last (in the film; we just know the circle will never be broken) mirrors her first in a depressing circularity.

Yet the film, for all its melancholy, is anything but depressing. Fellini is most famous for being an indulger of frail male egos, but CABIRIA's strength lies in its imaginative sympathy with its heroine. The film's structure mirrors her situation - the film has no plot as such, just an accumulative series of self-contained episodes which follow the same pattern: escape, hope, betrayal. In each episode, the further Cabiria moves away form her 'neo-realist' base, the more dream-like (verging on the fantastic) the film becomes, as if she is stepping into an enchanted world (this is made literal when she follows the actor into the nightclub, like some mythic warrior entering the dragon's lair). And each time she gives into the dream world, the illusion is rudely shattered - the scene at the hypnotist's is as heartbreaking as anything in CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT. So while the reality/illusion dichotomy is facile as an idea, it is extraordinarily powerful as cinema experienced through character.

Fellini's filming is as beautiful as anything in 50s cinema, that decade mirabilis: more restrained and grounded than later, with less obvious flourish, but the mixture of realism and dream is made all the more convincing with the gentle, coaxing camera movements, beguiling us as well as the heroine, but with the strange editing, and sometimes disruptive composition giving us a distance she can never have.

Giuletta Masina gives the most sublime performance by an actress in Italian cinema- an exuberant mixture of hope and resignation; her gorgeous big eyes not quite ready to give up yet, even at the end, although the submitting to the youthful racket seems as hopelessly bleak as 8 1/2. Her seemingly unprepossessing body is actually an instrument of unparalelled grace, and the comparisons with Chaplin are not unwarranted - when you see this performance you'll realise how unexpressive most actors' bodies are.

The Chaplin model is not always helpful - there is a mawkishness and emotional manipulation towards the climax that almost grates, but by then you so adore Cabiria, and so hate everybody else that thought doesn't really come into it (although doesn't it seem that many male viewers seem to prefer her as helpless). Throw in a lovely, playful Nino Rota score and you're in movie heaven.
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10/10
on the timelessness of Fellini's overlooked masterpiece
RG-528 September 1998
As a film-lover, there are movies that I've outgrown, movies that disappointingly lose their connection to me as I age and mature. Fellini's "Le Notti di Cabiria" is one of those movies that seems to grow with me. It grows richer with each yearly viewing. I never tire of it; I am moved in different ways each time I see it. Fellini and his amazing muse, Giulietta Masina, created one of those rare movie masterpieces in 1957 that comments on its time, yet remains fresh and contemporary as well. But I lament that this gem is so little known today. I trust its recent restoration will help remedy the movie-going public's oversight. The film's rich concluding scene alone (and Masina's glance into our eyes) remains one of the most magical moments ever projected on a screen.
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10/10
The Best Film I Know
tfdill8 April 2000
I am not much in favor of "best" lists--I wouldn't make it in Cusack's "High Fidelity" world--but I can usually offer a range of titles of films that I consider the most powerful experiences I have had in front of a screen--Bicycle Thief, Ran, Ordet, Seventh Seal, Citizen Kane, L'Avventura, Rear Window, Blade Runner, quite a few others. But if I had to pick just one title, it would be Nights of Cabiria. I saw it when it first came out in this country--I was a junior in high school and fortunate enough to live near a theater that showed foreign films. It ran for several weeks and I kept going back to see it over and over, giving myself permission by dragging friends to see it. No one was ever disappointed, though only a couple of friends developed a comparable enthusiasm with mine. I have continued to see

it every chance I get, though I have not had the opportunity to see the latest reissue--I probably will have to see it on

video or dvd, since the city I now live in rarely shows any foreign films. Giulietta Massina gives not just the greatest

performance of her career, but surely one of the greatest

performances ever recorded on film, and the sequence of Cabiria's experiences, at first seemingly random and insignificant, adds up to one of the most profound statements Fellini ever made about human life.
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8/10
Amazing Transformation
ttbrowne17 February 2002
I almost turned this film off. I'm so glad I stayed with it. It's one of the best films I've seen. Cabiria, the street prostitute, is not sympathetic. She's rough, vulgar, not very attractive, a showoff, loud, proud, inelegant. I just didn't feel anything for her character at the beginning. But Fellini must have been reading my mind. He purposefully played it that way to draw the viewer in.

The streets of Rome are unforgiving and harsh for a prostitute. There are those who sleep in caves and in the archways. Cabiria braggingly says, "I've got my own house...here's one girl who's never slept under the arches. Well, maybe once. Twice maybe." By the end of the film I was completely hooked by her charm, desire, and hope. For hope is what keeps Cabiria going. A great film.
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10/10
Unbelievably Great
zetes31 December 2000
This is one of the most perfect films ever committed to celluloid. It involved me more than at least 99% of other films I've seen, and the main character, Cabiria, is a character to cherish and love forever (of course, we who have seen La Strada are already partly familiar with the character). I've hardly ever cared more about a character, and even after only five minutes into the film, I wanted so desperately to protect her. Giulietta Masina is so masterful in her performance, and Federico Fellini, her husband, is as masterful in his direction. I did not believe that they could match their success with La Strada, but, in fact, they succeeded in surpassing it. Bravo. 10/10. One of the best films ever made, plain and simple.
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10/10
Stunning cinema
pathaniav26 January 2007
My friends went to see The Queen last night - I was too tired and decided to go back home. I put in the DVD and got into bed figuring I would watch an half hour or so and fall asleep. At the end of nearly 2 hours, I was sitting up straight, wide awake, awestruck at the genius in the direction and acting. This is cinema at its finest. I have seen La Strada before and I now rank Fellini's earlier work as among my all time favorites (along with Ozu.) Masina's tearful smile at the camera at the end is pure magic - so much dignity and hope captured in a single second. Her performance throughout the movie was a revelation - she got innocent hope and graceful charm to shine through her foul-mouthed vulgar acting character. I simultaneously cared and despaired for her - this movie pulled me in like no recent Hollywood movie has for a long long time.
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10/10
No doubt about that this is one of the best films ever made!
anton-63 February 2002
Giulietta Massina as the the prostitute is who was born to lose(but still never give up) is MASTERFUL.She creates a wonderful innocent character.Federico Fellini (her husband)is telling a very simple still complicated story and I was VERY impressed with his fantastic direction. I must say that you suffer with Cabiria, For example when she meets the movie star.A masterpiece from the start to the end and I would call it one of the best films ever made.No doubt about 5/5
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10/10
The two emotions that make this film unbelievable
Olivian_Breda30 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I think there's just two reasons to make make this film the most beautiful thing I've ever seen on screen. I have yet to see a more beautiful movie. I'll explain below.

The first is the play of emotions. At first Cabiria is upset after falling in the water. Then she smiles and laughs. Then she's upset. This transformation of emotions makes you throughout the movie want to see her smile. And when she laughs you're in heaven. With her. This is one reason: transformation of emotions, and your wish for Cabiria to get to laugh.

The second thing that moved me with all my emotions was her reaction to sufferance. In her life she suffered before the movie (bad parents, prostitution, social status, poverty), throughout the movie (although her way of living rarely show you her sufferance in the movie, you feel she's very happy), and probably after the movie ends (again, bad future most likely). At the final part of the movie the pain is excruciating. She loses everything that connects her to the life (all her money & house), love (lover), social status (marriage) and some hope (in life and Virgin Mary). This is all in one scene. Actually, all she has left are her friends and possibly a suitcase. And then it happens: she's happy. In the very final part her reaction is: she yells, while crying, to the rubbing lover to kill her. She repeats this. And the final scene is a victory on life. Sure, her life was, is (oh, boy, what must her feelings be right now) and will be filled with pain. But he takes this reality, a certain fact, nothing's more concrete than this, and twists it: she's happy. In a face of tears, after a horrifying painful experience, she looks at the unsuspecting people around her that are joyful, happy, friendly, and takes their feeling: she smiles, almost laughing. There is no reality. The sufferance is beaten. Life has no hard touch on her. This is much more than hope. She is not wishing for a better future. She's living it now. Life is transformed with her final joy.

I have yet to see a better movie. It's the one movie for which: I registered on IMDb, I voted, I read all the comments, I wrote this comment. No second place. My current top movies: this movie and below this everything else. There's not another movie I would recommend to anyone older than 15.
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Fellini at his best - Spoilers
robertiscool3495230 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
`Le Notti di Cabiria', Federico Fellini's 1957 Academy Award winning film, is a poignant, touching and timeless work of Italian cinema. The film details the life of Cabiria (played by Fellini's wife Giulietta Masina), a `night bird' who leads a cynical life of prostitution on the streets of Rome. Throughout the film, Fellini guides us through her search for true love, refuge, and eventual salvation. Her poetic story is one of sadness, hope, and the unending search for a true place to call home. Giulietta Masina's brilliant performance draws her audience into her ravaged world and leaves them forever changed.

Cabiria has been a prostitute since her youngest days - she recollects entering the streets at 15 with `long, dark hair', unaware of what she was getting into. As we learn in the opening scene, she has been consistently taken advantage of by men, yet attempts to walk a fine line between clinging to them in a search for true happiness and remaining ever independent and self-sufficient. As soon as the film opens, she is robbed by her pimp, and later spends the night with a self-consumed wealthy director. However, the director throws her in the closet as soon as his girlfriend arrives and in the morning quickly escorts a sad Cabiria out of the house, with all her hopes crushed. During the film Cabiria is frequently enticed by the promise of a new life in her encounters, yet consistently meets impending doom.

The most heartbreaking theme of the film is Cabiria's hopeless search for happiness and salvation. We see that her friends in the business are no better off - Cabiria's story is a universal account. She is cynical and cold only because of the tragedy she has suffered when she has chosen to share herself. However, she makes a gradual transformation throughout the film as soon as she meets D'onofrio - a handsome, intelligent and caring man who finds Cabiria at a comedy show. Cabiria is at first doubtful and aloof around him, but as the story progresses becomes more open and loving. She has finally found the answer in D'onofrio; she proceeds to sell her house and gather her life savings to live the married life as her mother had with D'onofrio. In the end of the film, her hopes are once again crushed as Fellini brings us to a cliff overlooking a river, the same setting as the opening scene in which Cabiria was robbed by her pimp and thrown into the river. Cabiria recognizes why D'onofrio has taken her there, breaks down crying and asks for him to throw her over the cliff. D'onofrio takes her life savings and leaves her on the cliff to her sorrows. Fellini ends the film with a shot of Cabiria looking into the camera smiling through her tears - she still has some hope for humanity inside her.It seems that no matter how desperate her struggles, Cabiria can not leave her life on the streets. She tells D'onofrio that as a teenager she and her friend Wanda had tried to escape the streets through starting a newspaper stand and could never get it off the ground. Perhaps it is something about Cabiria that keeps her working on the streets, perhaps it is her eternal hope in the goodness of mankind. She will never stop believing someone good is waiting for her out in the obscurity of the night. While at a holy site where Mary was to have appeared, she begs in tears for Mary to change her life. Her prayers, expectedly, are not answered. In `Le Notti di Cabiria', Fellini breaks our hearts through Giulietta Masina's brilliant portrayal of an infinite search for love amongst a dark world ravaged with deceit and pain.
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10/10
Masina Might Be the Best Film Actress Ever
RARubin6 April 2005
I love Federico Fellini, but I dread his early works like La Strada because they are so sad. Poor Giulietta Masina, one of the greatest film actresses of all time, she always gets the short end of the stick and because the movie magic is so intense, our heart breaks right along with her.

Fellini is the Great Director Italian style. I don't mean he isn't the greatest director, better than Hitchcock, Welles, a modern like Scorcese. I'm looking at his work, have seen most of them, and I can't make up my mind. He might be the greatest that ever lived. His films in black and white, the Neo-Realism of Italian film after the war, the incredible original vision, the writing, and directing, it's as though Michelangelo came back as a director.

Masina is a prostitute, but her loves turn out to be pocketbook grabbers. Her physical well being is not high on her boyfriend's priority list. She's such a little women, frail, and in Nights she plays a tough, brawling, whimsical, and hopeless romantic. Her acting style is over the top, almost carnival character as she had played it in La Strada, but as Cabiria, she's older, but not necessarily wiser. The final revelation with French actor François Périer is so heart rendering because after an hour and a half of Cabiria's, laughter, trials, and disappointments, we identify with her completely. And then, in one last scene, the carnival returns with hope.

There is so much more to say about this film. You could write a book.
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Fellini's humanness
Cristi_Ciopron5 October 2006
Le Notti is a very rich,thematically, and diversified movie:the freshness and the concreteness,a strange inebriate detachment (in the "Alberto" the movie star episode),men's wickedness,the horrible baseness,the sordidness,the suavity,the gentleness and the bitterness,the irreverence towards the Christianity,also themes from previous (Il Bidone,La Strada) and even future (La Dolce vita,Toby Dammit,the easy-going eccentric Roman inebriate night life,Rome's night life) films.Fellini no longer believes in,or no longer practices the Shakespearian notes he used in Il Bidone,that kind of Shakespearean intensity.Anyway,like "Il Bidone","Le Notti" changes register in its last part,and offers that unsparing insight deeper than the reality itself.Transitional movie,"Le Notti" is at once a recapitulation of themes from previous works,and a preparation for his future essays (the 4 great movies from the '60s).The epic texture is still important.I don't think that Fellini ever bets on the "social document",etc.,and his ephemeral,or,at least,temporary association with some Neorealists in the '50s is generally misunderstood and made to mean something it never was.A thin-skinned prostitute,"Cabiria",meets a bashful accountant.Seen through Cabiria's experiences,her tribulations,the things she sees, tell more about her own mind,she is not,as such,the director's representative,though Fellini depicts reproachfully the malice of some of those met by Cabiria in her way.The world as presented in "Le Notti ..." is,at least partially,seen through the prostitute's eyes,hence the touch of grotesque and even some kind of a twisted naiveté,a la Sue.In this world seen by Cabiria,there are some landmarks of concrete humanity,e.g. the philanthropist met by the prostitute,or the Friar.It is always surprising,but also heartening, to see a man of great intelligence needing to give goodness and humanity a place in his work.(Kusturica,who refused any resemblance with Fellini and denied any influence,uses the same kind of endowing the sleazy worlds he explores with at least one firm landmark of goodness,so this world it is not left to its own degeneration and cowardice.)I see in this lapidary insert that never patronizes the sign of a distinguished deftness.(In "Il Bidone" such a character misses.)Albeit mixed with irony and sarcasm (those of an exceptional mind ),Fellini's compassion is none the less authentic.His relative neutrality,his neatness in handing this humble epic stuff do not make him an indifferent witness.(As a youngster,Fellini planned to make a movie about a "little wildflower of grace", Serenella ;more interesting is to note that this "little wildflower of grace" was,for Fellini,one of "the two faces of the Church".Fellini had opinions,had ideas about real life,goodness,etc..Fellini even had a very keen and salubrious idea about the true task of Christianity for man,to "restore him to his divine greatness".)He was also known to admire humility, simplicity,and he knew to be politically incorrect in this.

"Le Notti" may be Fellini funniest movie:it abounds in comical things,and this comic is always tasteful and intelligent.It also has a certain quality that can be simply described as gentlemanly.Also,let us note that in "Le Notti" Fellini avoided the cruelty's altitude reached already in "Il Bidone",but maintains a more comical and grotesque register.In "Le Notti ..." Fellini still has a narrative thread;he gives shape to various intuitions,feelings, perceptions,dreams,in an impressionistic and fancy but well-conceived and finely molded way.His enjoyment of the clownish aspects of the reality is a relish.

Cabiria's world is explored with Fellini's appetite for the concrete.He connives with the prostitutes and the hussies,sends Cabiria in the medium of the rich,in that of the religious pilgrimages....There are some powerful vignettes,displaying Fellini's gusto and skills for seizing various facets of the social life.His mastership in depicting realist scenes that none the less have a bizarre and ambiguous twist is obvious in Cabiria's tribulations.With the air of making a purely reflexive and intransitive work,Fellini still expresses freely,with an Un-faked ingenuity, his thoughts about life,people,etc..While affecting to leave outside his feelings and opinions about everyday life and the common experience,Fellini none the less slipped his own thoughts and reactions,because he did have them and was not sank into some kind of impassibility,placidity and indifference.Fellini's ironic detachment,caustic sometimes,was,in his '50s movies,a good way to perceive the reality and to depict it without being patronizing or Thesist.The man was very refined and subtle and he refused to be encapsulated,enclosed,encompassed in an artistic formula;he believed in the richness and irreducible character of both life and art.This playful man wasn't a joker.Fellini passed a judgment on certain aspects of life,and resented the cruelty and the wickedness,without ever being didactic or moralist;but it must be said that,as director,he was both very intelligent and ironic,and ingenuous,natural,spontaneous;one,no less than the other.He was as impassible and as ingenuous as his very keen intelligence made him to be.Nobody was farther than Fellini from conforming himself to a theoretical model about how should man be and create.

I want to praise "Cabiria"'s actors' genuineness,beginning with Mrs. Masina;this was her fifth movie with her husband.She was ever more than a "Fellini actress".Her ethereal and funny approach denotes a very mature understanding.(But it is true that Fellini wanted for his movies real actors, great actors,not puppets,he favored the creative skills of the actors.) François Périer's performance is simply gold;it has that sensitivity,delicacy,nuances and fineness that are compelling.

"Cabiria" is on the iridescent side of Fellini's '50s career,the other side being the "realist" and narrative one.This iridescent side is irreducible to schools and trends,expressing Fellini's refusal to use the standard methods and to work within a common code,and favoring,at first through this poetry of the Faubourg,the experimental and a new Apprehensibility.It is important to notice that Fellini was a great experimenter,and one that never cogs;he is probably the most famed cinema experimenter.( "I have one great limitation",said Fellini,"not having general ideas about anything".)

Fellini agreed,once,that "all my films revolve around " the "love toward one's neighbor".Those who are used to receive this only in a conventional,didactic way,won't even recognize it in Fellini's works.

Averty did the best homage to Fellini,considering him one of the three directors that never made a bad movie,and unable to make one.I subscribe.
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10/10
Giulietta Masina gives the greatest performance of cinema history in this movie........
monty_lnct16 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Nights of Cabiria is another neo-realistic Italian cinema that took us down-right to the world of misfortune,despairing,unloved world of a prostitute.The story of a woman Cabiria who dreamed up of finding true love in her life.The story follows Cabiria in her quest for love where she wanders the streets of Rome during night awaiting a wonder to happen when one day she will find the love of her life,but ironically in her quest she always get betrayed,disrespected and used-up by the different men she encounters in her journey.

In this tragicomic tale,Giulietta Masina portrayed the role of innocent and naive women which is one of the greatest performance i have seen from any actress in my life.You will gravitate towards her wide,round glittering eyes and her innocent smile.You will grieve for her griefs, felt sympathy for her and when she smile,the innocence and purity of her smile compel you to smile and rejoice for her, when she pray to Madonna in a shrine i felt like praying with her.Her character was so energetic,full of passion ans positive attitude towards life,no matter how much she is in pain and grief she always found a way to laugh.

Nights of cabiria is certainly one of the most perfect and equally powerful movie ever made.There is not a single flaw in the direction of Federico Fellini.The movie was more than perfect in every department from plot development,cinematography,performance to editing you cannot point-out a single sign of blemishness in the movie.This movie was entertaining throughout, perfectly paced that allow the audience to get deeply involve with the story and also prevent from boredom.The scenes were shot with precise details, perfection and beauty,whether the scene of the prayer in the shrine or the tension and sadness build at the climax ,every scene was exquisitely brilliant.

This movie have one of the most tragic ending i have ever seen.The movie ended like it started,when she get betrayed again by another man she fell in love, in-spite of being sad and severely honest to audience about the harsh reality of world all the time, movie still inspire us at the end same time to never to loose hope.

Nights of Cabiria is not a chick flick,this movie has an insight ,the character study of a misfortune women.Just like a mirror,this movie shows us the reality of life,true depiction of the cruel and unaffectionate world we live in but still inspires us.

Sometimes,I wonder how can i relate myself so much with a movie that is not even near around to my culture,language,era and the country.Nights of Cabiria is one of those movies.this movie was made in 1957(the year even when my parents were not born) and from the country of Italy,i hardly know anything about it's culture and language.But still love the movies from Italy,the country where one of the most beautiful movies of the world are made.It is because of that these movies have boundless emotions that flows beyond the border of any country,passes all the hurdles of language and time and equally capable to penetrate the emotions of audience,irrespective of it's language and country.

The movies like Nights of Cabiria are like Diamond which have no influence of time,only they get more and more beautiful as the time passes.The world will never forget the cinematic gems like this.
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Masterpiece
Irakli285 October 1999
I have seen these film many times and still feel the thrill of contact with REAL CINEMA. "Cabiria" is perfect as it can be. If this were the only film of Fellini it would be enough to prove that he was a genius.

Masina is simply unforgettable, and it is such a pity that such films and such actors do not exist anymore.
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10/10
One of Fellini's best...
TheLittleSongbird26 July 2012
...alongside La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2 and Amarcord. Fellini's films are not for everybody perhaps, but I admire them how well made made and directed they are, some of them like Amarcord and the peacock in the snow have breathtakingly beautiful images that stay long in the mind, for his choices in composers and actors, for his deliberately paced and sometimes ambitious stories(8 1/2 is especially true of this) and also that the characters are not always what they seem at first glance. Nights of Cabiria I have seen before criticised as grating, sentimental and self-indulgent(the latter being a criticism of Fellini's films in general and him also actually), and while I am understanding, I personally don't agree.

I find Nights of Cabiria to be one of his accessible films, and along with La Strada also his most moving. Again it is incredibly well made, with beautiful scenery and cinematography. The images are again very memorable, and done with much emotional resonance, the best of which being the ending which is both tragic and uplifting. Fellini's direction is superb, the personal nostalgia that is apparent in all his films is here and you do identify with the story and the titular character. The music has much beauty and nostalgic charm, while the story perfectly tells of the sheer happiness and then tearful sorrow of unfortunate Cabiria's life. Cabiria, the titular character, is one you can identify with immediately, feeling pity and also her conflicting emotions as she tries to remain positive even in the face of adversity. Giulietta Masina gives a bravura performance, her face and eyes are beautifully expressive and she is just heart-breaking. Francois Perier also shines as the stranger who makes the offer that is almost too good to be true.

Overall, a truly beautiful film and one of Fellini's best, certainly one of my favourites as well. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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10/10
A prostitute that gets under your skin...
Artimidor7 February 2012
In a way "Nights of Cabiria" is the companion piece to "La Strada", both directed by Federico Fellini, both starring his wife and muse Giulietta Masina and both dealing with a woman and her struggle with life. And yet the movies conclude quite differently. Cabiria is one of those characters that really get under your skin in the progression of the film - it's a woman who seems difficult to understand at the beginning when she's saved from drowning, yet doesn't even have a word of thanks for her saviours and heads off ranting. What follows is grand character development. Episode by episode we get deeper in Cabiria's heart and mind, her hopes and dreams, see her praying for a miracle, but again and again she fails, is used, ridiculed, ignored. Cabiria is not just a naive girl stumbling into her doom, she rather seeks salvation in simplicity and belief when everything else shatters to pieces. She's actually quite a complex character - emotional, earthy and proud in her own way, yet vulnerable and always on the brink. And we are swept away with her when eventually that turn in her fate is actually happening, the change for which we've all been rooting by then.

It all leads up to one of the most striking final scenes in cinema history - Fellini's camera work and Masina's performance invoke pure movie magic: Never before is a greeting from a total stranger as heart-warming as here, never again will a well-timed nod into the camera be so electrifying as Cabiria's. Maybe you already know what I mean. In any case I conclude with: Buona sera!
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8/10
Those eyes... what acting
smakawhat4 December 2000
Nights of Cabiria is one of those timeless old films that will always remain poignant and relevant. It carries that old innocent cinematic charm of an era that can never be duplicated.

Masina, is so talented in this film and this character is SO unforgettable. WHAT TALENT!! This woman doesn't even have to say anything!! You just have to look into those huge pupils and watch the variety of expressions on her face that convey so many emotions without a single word. I would but it in comparisons to Masina as a circus clown, who can just do everything with her face.

The film is a good play on life and redemption in general (done very well might I add), and for that it rates high for me personally. It is also very funny and charming. I can not comment on how it compares to Sweet Charity (which is based on this film) cause I have not seen it.

The film slows in certain sections but is never boring. GREAT FILM!!

Rating 8 out of 10
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9/10
A Performance and Movie for the Ages
BobbyDupea17 March 2015
I saw this movie for the first time last night, and I have to post my first review on the site to say it is really wonderful. Giulietta Masina's performance is truly one of the most impressive I've ever seen - her face is as expressive as Buster Keaton's or Charlie Chaplin's.

The movie is a deceptively simple story about the day-to-day encounters of a prostitute who does the best she can to make a living and maintain her hopes and dreams of a better life. Her relationships with her neighbors, friends, and street-corner associates are a major focus, as are her relationships with the many men that come and go in her life. In the latter regard, it is obvious that this film was the inspiration for many other plays and films, including Sweet Charity.

The series of people encountered by Cabiria in the movie shows us the full range of human reaction to life's adversity - some respond with cynicism and prey on others without remorse, some respond with generosity and hope, some respond by clinging to certain belief systems that don't really help them in a material way, etc. Cabiria definitely stands out as a unique character within the gritty, grimy community of post-war Rome, where there are stark differences between people of different classes and livelihoods. We can see that she is a good person living in a world that is not always humane or fair.

I won't give away the ending, but I will say that it took a lot of creativity and inspiration to include the ending of this movie as it is - I'm sure it was as startling and unexpected to audiences in 1957 as it is emotionally moving still today.

The direction, photography, and acting are all first-rate in this classic. Everybody involved was obviously engaged in a labor of love. I cannot recommend it more highly.
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That glance,that nod, that smile.
Sardony4 July 1999
This is the first Fellini film I ever saw (and thank heavens I saw it on the big screen); I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with its now-legendary star Giulietta Masina (in the title role of Cabiria). Watching the movie, I wanted to shout to her to "watch out!" and to jump into the screen to take her away from the parasites who wanted to feed on her. So entranced was I by Masina's performance. Telling the surface plot is unnecessary here; the film's substance happens between the lines: Cabiria's emotional depth between the devastations, her perpetual longing for better and, despite it all, her indomitable happiness. It's the story of predators and prey (Cabiria), and it's a picture of the enduring human spirit. Only an actress of transcendent powers could pull off such a task, and Masina manages it beautifully. Look at the IMDb "Awards & Nominations" page for this film: in 1957 Masina won "Best Actress" at Cannes; in 1958 the film won the Oscar for "Best Foreign Language Film;" and in 1959 the film was nominated for a British Academy Award for "Best Film From Any Source." Three of the film's magical moments: 1) the "Hypnotist" scene. 2) After falling asleep atop a cliff where one of those "predators" had taken advantage of her, she awakes and the sea below this cliff is now covered by a misty shroud (you interpret what "being above the clouds" means). And 3) after a final personal devastation, she joins a small troupe of carefree youth in their singing and dancing as they walk the road. Joining them, her dirt-smudged and tear-swollen face regains its radiance and we feel happy that she's smiling again. But the real brilliance of this moment - one of the most affecting in all cinema - is when Cabiria glances briefly INTO THE LENS, smiles and nods AT *US* that she will be alright. Watching this movie that first time I was happy that she was smiling among these young troubadours, but not until she glanced, smiled and nodded directly TO ME did I feel released from my need to rescue and protect her, free to leave the theater and let her go on her own (without me). Personally, no other actress has ever been able to penetrate so completely to my emotional core. Brilliant director, brilliant actress. SEE THIS MOVIE.
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1/10
Close your eyes, what do you see then?
hasosch22 May 2009
It is almost considered heretic to write something negative about Fellini. As a matter of fact, Fellini succeeded to create an ambient of adoration around him like possibly no other film director ever. However, all is not gold that glitters.

In Fellini's "Cabiria" we see some whores of Rome, although they are bitterly poor and misused by their pimps, jumping and dancing in the streets, merrily laughing, having fun with drinks and food all together enjoying their lives. Even the pimps are there, and if something bad happens than it is a curse or a smashed car-door, not more. And when they fight, it is less harmful than amongst children. Even in one of the last scenes, where an old whore is shown who must live in an earth-cave: she is happy, and as long as the angel provides her with food, she thanks god that she is allowed to have such a miserable existence. Fellinis whores have no diseases, and when they suffer, than because of loneliness and not from hunger, gonorrhea and bloody limbs.

It is hard to believe, yet true, that the screenplay of this movie was written by Pier Paolo Pasolini, by the same Pasolini who portrayed the world of the whores of Romes in a quite different way than Fellini did. In film theory, one tries to absorb this difference by a notion of time: Fellini is "realistic", Pasolini is "neo-realistic". In literature one would speak about the difference between realism and naturalism, and in truth one has to speak about the difference between the blissful stupidity of Fellini who by guarantee never has made a step down to Ostia and Pasolini who lived there and was killed there. Pasolini's "Mamma Roma" is not a childish grinning clown-esquire puppet like Masina's "Cabiria" with her school-girlish white socks, but the Academy Award went to Fellini's wife and not to Anna Magnani. Clearly, Fellini who resided on one of the 7 hills of Rome made the money, Pasolini was 36 times before court and was poor almost like his friends in Ostia.

This is bitterly sad because it is objectively false. One of the main reasons why the big earthquake came in film in the Sixties, called "Nouvelle Vague", "Neue Welle" of "New Wage" is that film makers in whole Europe were fed up with rose-red lies, conformism, idealistic prosthetics of fascism and other wonderful post-war achievements. In Germany, Fassbinder ended brutally the "Schulmädchen-Report"- and "Lederhosen"-culture. In France, the "grandfather of Nouvelle Vague", Jean-Pierre Melville, lead the level of the French gangster film up to that of the best American Film Noirs. And it Italy? In Italy where the fascism was almost more popular after than during World War II, supported by the Catholic church, Fellini continued his artificial sugar-sweet artistic, astonishingly untouchable by any critique who wanted to make film besides Fellini. Less than 20 years after "Cabiria" was released under his own collaboration, Pasolini knew only one answer to the deplorable and miserable intellectual situation in Italy: his gigantic masterpiece "Salo" (1975).
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6/10
Finale Scene Warning: Spoilers
My lord, how they scream!! AHAHA I laughed so much with this movie!

Of course, it's a classic, but I don't think I'll see it many times, but on its way, it worth my time.

The character's naivety gets on nerves, but we know there are people like this in the world, and I can say, who never were naive in life? It could not be in the same outrageous levels of Cabiria, but anyway...

Well, the final scene is the best, it demonstrate how life really is. You are there, crying, during a terrible moment in your life, when something simple as a "hello" makes you smile again, and hope come back to your life.
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