Nights of Cabiria: Reinvigorating the Italian spirit post fascism

I thought I would comment on Fellini’s 1957 film, Nights of Cabiria, after having finished a paper on it for Daniel Goulding’s module. This film, starring Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina as the title character, is one of the most effective of Fellini’s neo-realist films. Before Fellini progressed to the surrealism that most of us probably know him for (La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2…) he made a number of poignantly raw films that commented on the state of postwar Italy and the anxieties of the Italian people who had been living in a false reality designed by Mussolini. Liberated from fascism, Italians desired retribution in the eyes of the world and were confronted with both physical destruction and widespread disillusionment. Through the character of Cabiria, a prostitute who dreams of one day finding true love, Fellini sent a message to his countrymen that pride, conviction and self-respect can allow anyone to endure even the greatest of hardships. Abused and betrayed by her lovers, mocked and ignored by her friends, Cabiria perseveres through a series of the cruelest occurrences. As the film comes to a close after Cabiria has undergone her most harrowing test, Cabiria wanders into a procession of singing and dancing youth. Dirtied and exhausted, loveless and penniless, a smile crosses Cabiria’s face in one of the most touching moments in cinema (certainly one of the most moving moments in any of Fellini’s films). I highly recommend this film and Goulding’s module courses (every spring semester). Though I’m not in the current module on Kieslowski (direct of the three-color series), I’m still attending the films on Tuesdays at 3:00 and welcome any one else who is interested to join.