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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriages between geniuses are simply rare
I have entered into the world of Federico Fellini and I don't think I'm turning back. The story and the performance in here are wonderful in particular Guiletta Masina, who stars as Cabiria. She plays a tough talking, streetwise hooker with one weakness: she falls in love all too easy. The story opens with her latest boyfriend, a shifty character named Giorgio (after a...
Published on 13 Nov 2007 by Jenny J.J.I.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly disappointing, but...
Nights of Cabiria doesn't live up to its formidable reputation but at the same time it doesn't exactly disappoint. Massina is not a good actress by any stretch of the imagination, too overreliant on volume and exaggeration for much of the film, but she is ultimately an affecting one when she stops yeling and just lets her face tell the story. It's Fellini at his most...
Published on 23 Aug 2007 by Trevor Willsmer


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marriages between geniuses are simply rare, 13 Nov 2007
By 
I have entered into the world of Federico Fellini and I don't think I'm turning back. The story and the performance in here are wonderful in particular Guiletta Masina, who stars as Cabiria. She plays a tough talking, streetwise hooker with one weakness: she falls in love all too easy. The story opens with her latest boyfriend, a shifty character named Giorgio (after a month of living together she's never learned his last name), steals her purse for pocket change and dumps her in the river. Even confronted with the obvious, she wishfully worries about Giorgio's welfare until the reality of his crime finally sinks in, and she responds with a sudden, mad fit of destructive anger.

Out first impression of Cabiria presents not so much a complex character as a passionate one: Masina's moon face and bright eyes flash emotions with the quicksilver spontaneity of a child. She's a streetwalker-as-Mary Pickford, a waif whose years on the street has turned wary and cynical, but just short of jaded. She still has the capacity to show her delight in life, the trust to give her heart away, and the clear thinking to buy her own house and stock money away in the bank.

As if haunted by the experience, she stumbles along looking for some meaning in her life, which she most pointedly does not find in a disappointing pilgrimage to a Catholic shrine -- "Nothing's changed!" she cries after seeing salvation turned into a circus. But after a devastatingly poignant admission while under hypnosis at a magic show, where she opens her soul when she meets her dream lover and becomes the object of ridicule by a taunting audience, she finally meets a man who seems to appreciate her open heart and trusting soul. Oscar (Francois Perier) doesn't know who she is or what she does, but he sees what we see in her glowing face: hope shining through her pain, a woman ready to offer her unconditional love.

Cabiria, as clownish as she appears at times, is no passive gamine but a hearty, rambunctious woman full of the joy of life. At a high class nightclub with movie star Lazzari she jumps into a goofy dance of joy, completely out of synch with her surroundings but an honest expression of her character. No posing, no masks for Cabiria, she is what she is and makes no apologies and that's what holds the episodic film together. The plot essentially exists as bookends to the film; "Nights of Cabiria" dares lose itself in the wanderings of its hapless, hopeful heroine. Perhaps no actress other than Massina could have pulled this off, a soaring triumph of the human spirit. "Nights of Cabiria" is a great film that I highly recommend to those who appreciate Italian cinema.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Miracle of Giuletta Masina (aka Mrs Fellini), 8 Feb 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
I'm sure, like many, I first set eyes on the then Mrs Fellini, Giuletta Masina, who stars as Cabiria, as the stray little clown in La Strada, who was sold to Anthony Quinn's cruel one-man performing act. I'm glad that I bought and viewed the two DVDs in this order.

How the character developed in La Strada was extraordinarily compelling and at its conclusion, I was in distress and tears. I was also in tears at the end of Cabiria, for different reasons, of which I'll keep to myself, so as to not spoil for others.

Cabiria, is a plucky little prostitute in a poor, run-down Rome area whose sassy lip and terrier like fight-back saves her bacon, many times. From an attempted drowning at the start, to being a distracting plaything for a film star who gets back with his mistress in front of Cabiria's eyes.

There's always that fiery competition and catty dialogue one presumes street-girls the world over are forever rattling off. Bettering themselves, moving on, meeting Mr Right etc. Her entanglements are counterbalanced by that other Fellini (La Dolce Vita especially) fascination, the Catholic church. Cabiria isn't a fallen angel, just one that's stuck in a degrading and constricting 'profession', always at the mercy of someone else.

Eventually, she believes she meets her Intended-to-be. The immense joy that radiates from that wide-eyed face of hers then; but at other times can send rods of acute sadness through you in seconds just by a held expression. Maybe, she's the original Meryl Streep, in that, even without dialogue, her face alone can express a whole scene. Direction from one's husband obviously helps.

Really very good films generally don't get more than a 9/10 from me. There is always a sliver of room for improvement in 99.9 of films. To get a 10, it has to have a profound, personal effect on me. This did and whilst not having any idea how the film was going to end, my emotions went through every scenario - and back again.

This is an absolute must for anybody and everybody, who has a TV (or PC, or Ipad, or whatever). I'm still bristling with feelings for it, some time after seeing this genuine masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fine Fellini/Masina Collaboration, 16 Aug 2013
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
This 1957 film directed (and co-written) by Federico Fellini is, for me, a worthy companion-piece to his classic film, La Strada, made three years earlier, and once again features a central, all-consuming performance from Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina. Indeed, if anything, Nights Of Cabiria devotes even more screen time to the diminutive Masina and her performance here is probably more demanding, requiring greater acting versatility, than the earlier film, and certainly (for me) is at least equal to her powerful turn in La Strada.

Of course, on the surface at least, these two masterful Fellini neo-realist tales could hardly be more different. For Nights Of Cabiria, Masina has been transformed into a brassy, stubborn and resentful whore, Cabiria (real name Maria Ceccarelli) whose turf is Rome's more down-market Passeggiata Archeologica (near the Baths of Caracalla), with the occasional excursion to the more glamorous and (film-)star-studded location of the Via Veneto. Cinematographer Aldo Tonti has created an evocative depiction of night-time Rome, as Cabiria exchanges stories (and, at times, fisticuffs) with her co-workers and reflects, ambivalently, upon her lifestyle. Here, Fellini has created a compelling and conflicted soul as his (anti-)heroine, as he weaves his themes of misplaced ambition, aspirations of a 'better' life and deluded romanticism around Cabiria's tale. Masina is never less than affecting here, as Cabiria's illusions of love ('her Giorgio' mugging her and pushing her into a river), a life of fame and riches (during a particularly good sequence with Amedeo Nazzari's handsome, and dour, film-star, Alberto Lazzari) and godly salvation (in the brilliant, darkly comic sequence at a 'Madonna miracle session') are each, in turn, shattered, revealing Cabiria's underlying feelings of confusion and insecurity.

In Nights Of Cabiria, Fellini's subtle, and skilful, filmic touches abound, such as during the scene (initially, inexplicably deleted at the behest of the Italian authorities) where Cabiria begins to realise there may be an alternative to her cynical lifestyle, as she encounters a mysterious 'good samaritan' who hands out food during the night to Rome's poor and needy (including an ex-working colleague of Cabiria's), and when Cabiria is press-ganged into taking to a magician/hypnotist's stage and having her intimate thoughts and feelings probed (and symbolically reinforcing her cynical view that love can be nothing more than an illusion). Acting-wise, Masina pretty much carries the entire film, but other notable turns are delivered by Franca Marzi as Cabiria's closest friend, Wanda, and by François Périer, as Cabiria's apparent saviour, the dull accountant, Oscar D'Onofrio, who is an integral part of the film's powerful denouement.

Nights Of Cabiria can be viewed as something of a transitional film for Fellini, with nods both backwards to his realist films such as I Vitelloni and La Strada, and forwards to the more extravagant (and surreal) content of La Dolce Vita and 8½, and (arguably) provides the most satisfying hybrid of the two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing for all Fellini fans., 7 April 2013
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This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
This film is another example of pure Fellini,the cast is composed of strange yet interesting characters intertwined in a series of situations which somehow gel to form the fine mosaic that is '50s Italy. Masina is at her best,funny,confused,angry,happy,sad...her facial expressions are a masterclass in character acting. I thoroughly recommend this film to anyone even remotely interested in European cinema. A must see.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover, 30 July 2010
By 
Room For A View - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
Fellini said that his wife is a great actress and, of course, what else would you expect him to say? But he's right: Giulietta Masina as Cabiria creates a unique character, one who rises above grotesque misfortune, picks up the pieces and just carries on. Superb acting that must have contributed to the Oscar best foreign language film award. Considering the context I found that Cabiria's joyful personality and vibrant demeanour masked the reality of her occupation. Although she is exploited by men she remains happy go lucky. Taken at face value Cabiria would appear naive and immune from the stigma (and danger) attached to her nocturnal activities. But I think this is the point. Fellini encourages the viewer to see beyond the profession and explore the life of a woman who is willing to sacrifice everything for love. And Masina's ability to convey the raw emotion of Cabiria's ups and downs is mesmerising. As with Fellini's previous films the neo-realist themes concerning, for instance, appalling social deprivation, abound, not least, in the originally deleted "sack man" scene (is this Cabiria's destiny?). I think the apparently altruistic role of the sack man can be contrasted with the way religion and its adherents are depicted in the film, particularly the groping, desperate worshipers attending a religious shrine. The quality of this edition is excellent and, to some extent, the special feature is interesting.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly disappointing, but..., 23 Aug 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Nights of Cabiria doesn't live up to its formidable reputation but at the same time it doesn't exactly disappoint. Massina is not a good actress by any stretch of the imagination, too overreliant on volume and exaggeration for much of the film, but she is ultimately an affecting one when she stops yeling and just lets her face tell the story. It's Fellini at his most Chaplinesque and its when it harks back to silent cinema that it's at its best. Her boyfriend's sudden change of character at the end seems to come completely out of leftfield and doesn't altogether convince, but it does allow for a truly beautiful final sequence. And it's interesting that of all the things for the Catholic Church to object to about the film, the one that incensed them enough for the sequence to be removed was a man with a sack dispensing blankets and chocolates to derelicts, a touching scene that acts both as a harbinger of Cabiria's probable fate and an affirmation that there is still some good in the world.

Criterion's US NTSC DVD is a good presentation, boasting the uncut version with the long-deleted 'man with the sack' sequence, interviews with Dominique Delouche and Dino De Laurentiis, an extract from Fellini's The White Sheik where Massina's character made her first brief appearance and the original Italian trailer plus the US reissue trailer.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A version wuth subtitles, 14 May 2012
By 
Marc Bigan - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957] (DVD)
I am from France, and the DVD you get in France is dubbed in French with no subtitles. I am glad I found this, in original Italian and with english subtitiles.

Of course, besides this it is a masterpiece
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent sad and optimistic movie, 17 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Nights Of Cabiria [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I don't know what Fellini was trying to say with this film except to expose the tragic life of a hopeful, downtrodden prostitute. The film has no sexually explicit scenes. I found myself rooting for the heroine who desparately wants to find respect in her life and every time she opens herself up to someone she trusts, she finds herself back into the same circle of hookers who share her plight. A well done film
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Nights Of Cabiria [DVD] [1957]
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