Streetwalker Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) wanders the streets of Rome in search of true love and happiness. The film follows her nights (and days) as she encounters different people who may or may not offer what she’s looking for.
I guess there is some justice in the world. You suffer, you go through hell…but then happiness comes along for everyone.
This is my fifth Federico Fellini film as well as the second one I’ve seen starring his wife Giulietta Masina (I actually watched La Strada for the first time a week before seeing this). Masina is probably now my favorite actress to grace a Fellini film as she brings so much spirit and humanity into her performance, especially in Nights of Cabiria, for which she was awarded Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Cabiria is a character that goes through a number of emotional experiences, from pure happiness to utter sadness, and Masina is able to get the audience to celebrate or sympathize with her. There’s that saying about the eyes being the window to the soul, and it’s definitely true here in watching Masina’s quieter moments, especially in the final scene (as displayed below).
The film itself is a great character study on how Cabiria attempts to change her lonely life and confront her problems. The character lives a rather sad life, but she’s one that can endure it and get back on her feet again. As someone who has gone through a number of tragedies in a short amount of time, Cabiria still remains an optimist as her hope to have a better life for herself never really dies. She may be doing bad by society’s standards, but she keeps striving to be good and worthy of the better things life has to offer, and I think by the end of the film the audience can agree that she is worthy of such riches.
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Directed by: Federico Fellini
Starring: Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Amedeo Nazzari
Oscar Nominations: Best Foreign Language Film (Italy) [WON]