Nights of Cabiria(SE)/A,A

Voyager/1957/118m/BW 1.33

    The bravura simplicity of Fellini’s vision perfectly mates with the unadorned tale of Cabiria, the feisty yet innocent prostitute working the periphery of Rome’s dark streets. The fact that Cabiria retains hope through all her travail is a marvelous reaffirmation of the wonder of life. Though Nights of Cabiria could easily have turned maudlin, the great enduring strength of Cabiria and the sense of humor of Fellini keep this narrow street movie on track. Fellini has great affection for Cabiria and while he may question her lack of judgment, her goodness and spirit drive Nights of Cabiria to a satisfying journey through the streets and barren outskirts of Rome.

Cabiria displays her fight ©Voyager

     The film begins and ends on similar notes. Has Cabiria changed during these nights we have spent on her journey through life?  Often, change must occur for a story to succeed, but Nights of Cabiria is not about change. It is about endurance. Each incident depicted in Nights of Cabiria offers its own joys. The character of Cabiria is the dominent element in every circumstance and with every character. Cabiria endues.
     Giuletta Masina brings Cabiria to brilliant screen life. Masina is a precious actress without playing precious. A female Chaplin, her expressive face can play a scene without support of words. Her unusual gait, her diminutive size, all contributes to the persona she creates. You believe Masina is Cabiria; yet, this is a very sophisticated actress finding great depth to her simple characters. One only has to compare Masina’s anguished prostitute Cabiria to her Juliet in Fellini’s later masterpiece, Juliet of the Spirits, to understand the complexity of the actress. 
     Federico Fellini knows how to energize simplicity or to simplify complexity.  Fellini has a unique feel for life of the streets, whether in Nights of Cabiria, the glorious La Strada, or in the sophisticated La Dolce Vita. In Nights of Cabiria, the scenes are set with beautiful black and white perfection. Nights dazzles, barren landscapes open fully for examination. The actors come alive to Fellini’s natural directing rhythms. 
     Discovering this beautiful DVD transfer of the restored Nights of Cabiria is like discovering a gold ring inside a Cracker Jack box. Every precious expression of Giuletta Masina is accurately captured on the DVD. The lustrous black and white of Fellini’s nights has balanced contrast. Spotlights illuminate the characters in the dark shadows of the streets with perfect control.  There is minimum grain. The DVD provides the perfect platform to watch Nights of Cabiria unfold brilliantly on your home theater.
     This special edition includes some brief film comparisons between previous existing prints of Cabiria and the current restored elements. These make it clear how of difficult it would be to appreciate this film in its former state. An audio interview with Dino De Laurentiis details the producer’s tug of war with Fellini over one segment of the film, “the man with a sack,” that was restored for this presentation. An extensive talking head video interview with former Fellini assistant Dominique Delouche is informative, though somewhat reverential. A short excerpt from The White Sheik explains the origin of the character of Cabiria. There are also an original and re-release trailer included.  You can watch Nights of Cabiria in Italian with English subtitles or in an English dubbed version.










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