Nights of Cabiria (1957)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 1, 1998 (USA)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - France , Italy   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Andrea LeVasseur

A touching tragi-comic portrait of a Roman prostitute, Nights of Cabiria is a showcase for the talents of Giulietta Masina, director Federico Fellini's wife. With movements that echo Chaplin's Little Tramp, the diminutive Masina is a tough-talking working girl, ready to start fighting the moment she is revived from a near-drowning incident at the hands of her boyfriend. She is not afraid to do dancehall moves in a crowd at a pretentious nightclub or join in fights with rival prostitutes. Yet she is fragile and vulnerable, seeking redemption from the Virgin Mary and always on a quest for love. The story is broken up into episodes, each where Cabiria is subjected to humiliation by several men, including a movie star and a hypnotist. She persists with her unique optimism and stubborn independence. Neither reformed nor condemned, Cabiria embodies the naïve bravado of a "hooker with the heart of gold." Elements of Fellini's later visual style seem to be developing here; the exotic dance routine in the nightclub and the circus-like processions reappear in his famed La Dolce Vita. Nights of Cabiria was reworked into the sentimentalized musical Sweet Charity by Bob Fosse. In 1998, Nights of Cabiria was restored and re-released with an additional scene.