An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this is the tale of a naive streetwalker who wanders the seedy streets of Rome searching for love and a way out of her sordid life. She finds everything but that.
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"She lives the life." Giulietta Masina's performance brilliantly captures the contrasts - self-destructiveness and optimism, daftness and fragility, neurosis and vigour, naivety and cynicism - of a woman put through the mill by men: pissed on, put down and spat out by patriarchy and machismo. She's all eyeballs and crooked grins, like a silent movie clown. That sound you hear is Pedro Almodóvar forever taking notes.
Giulietta Masina, one of the most expressive actresses the cinema industry has known, Federico Fellini, one genius director, plus a most touching story with an extremely inspiring and overwhelming ending. What more can you ask from a classic Italian movie? This is a must-see piece of cinema.
Nights of Cabiria is Fellini's last neorealist film, but that's using the term lightly. Fellini's tragedy of a prostitute looking for love in the modern world is beautifully told. Every scene is sprinkled with the magic of Fellini's deft and gentle direction and of course, Nino Rota's magical score. Masina is stunning in the lead role, and her face just expresses so much. If you don't cry, you simply have no heart.
One of the most interesting characters and performances of all-time. Masina brought both a believable childlike quality and ferocity in the same character. I can't imagine anyone else duplicating her performance. I didn't quite buy the ending, but the performance makes it worth it.
Re-watched this yesterday, for the fourth time in my life. Sequences like the night spent with Amedeo Nazzari, the pilgrimage at the Divino Amore, the night show with the magician or even the ending made me understand that there's really nothing like this film. God bless Federico Fellini and his high art.