Nights of Cabiria
|Nights of Cabiria|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Federico Fellini|
|Produced by||Dino De Laurentiis|
|Screenplay by||Federico Fellini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
|Story by||Federico Fellini|
|Editing by||Leo Cattozzo|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures (Italy)
|Running time||117 minutes|
Nights of Cabiria (Italian: Le notti di Cabiria) is a 1957 Italian romantic drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Giulietta Masina, François Périer, and Amedeo Nazzari. Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a waifish prostitute who wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak. In 1998 the film was rereleased, newly restored and with a crucial scene that censors had cut.
The name Cabiria is borrowed from the 1914 Italian film Cabiria, while the character of Cabiria herself is taken from a brief scene in Fellini's earlier film The White Sheik. It was Masina's performance in that earlier film that inspired Fellini to make this film. But no one in Italy was willing to finance a film which featured prostitutes as heroines. Finally, Dino de Laurentiis agreed to put up the money. Fellini based some of the characters on a real prostitute whom he had met while filming Il Bidone. For authenticity, he had Pier Paolo Pasolini, known for his familiarity with Rome's criminal underworld, help with the dialogue.
The film opens with Cabiria happy and laughing, on a river bank with her current boyfriend and live-in lover. He pushes her into the river and steals her purse which is full of money. She cannot swim and very nearly drowns, but is rescued and revived at the last possible moment by helpful ordinary people who live a little further down the river.
The rest of the plot follows Cabiria as she plies her trade, interacts with her best friend and neighbor Wanda, and searches for a chance to better her life. She is frequently mistreated and taken advantage of, but she has some interesting adventures, and manages to keep her basic attitude to life positive.
Eventually, she meets Oscar, an accountant, who seems genuinely kind and who promises her a happy future. At first she is cautious and suspicious, but after several meetings she falls passionately in love with him and they are to be married—after only a few weeks. However, during a walk in a wooded area, on a cliff overlooking a lake Oscar becomes distant and starts acting nervous. Cabiria realizes that—just like her earlier lover—Oscar intends to push her over the cliff and steal her money (she sold her house and possessions and keeps all the money in her purse). She throws her purse at his feet, sobbing in convulsions on the ground as he abandons her.
She later picks herself up and stumbles out of the wood in tears. In the film's famous last sequence, Cabiria walks the long road back to town when she is met by a group of young people riding scooters, playing music, and dancing. They happily form an impromptu parade around her until she begins to smile through her tears.
- Giulietta Masina as Cabiria Ceccarelli
- François Périer as Oscar D'Onofrio
- Franca Marzi as Wanda
- Dorian Gray as Jessy
- Aldo Silvani as Il mago
- Ennio Girolami as Amleto, "il magnaccia"
- Mario Passante as Lo storpio alla processione
- Amedeo Nazzari as Alberto Lazzari
Filming locations 
- Acilia, Rome, Lazio, Italy (exteriors)
- Castel Gandolfo, Rome, Lazio, Italy (exteriors)
- Cinecittà, Rome, Lazio, Italy (studio)
- Rome, Lazio, Italy (exteriors)
- Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore, Castel di Leva, Rome, Lazio, Italy (exteriors)
- Tiber River, Rome, Lazio, Italy
At the time of the film's first American release, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther gave the film a mixed review: "Like La Strada and several other of the post-war Italian neo-realistic films, this one is aimed more surely toward the development of a theme than a plot. Its interest is not so much the conflicts that occur in the life of the heroine as the deep, underlying implications of human pathos that the pattern of her life shows...But there are two weaknesses in Cabiria. It has a sordid atmosphere and there is something elusive and insufficient about the character of the heroine. Her get-up is weird and illogical for the milieu in which she lives and her farcical mannerisms clash with the ugly realism of the theme."
Forty years later, the Times carried a new review by Crowther's successor, Janet Maslin. She called the film "a cinematic masterpiece", and added that the final shot of Cabiria is worth more than "all the fire-breathing blockbusters Hollywood has to offer."
Film critic Roger Ebert reviewed mainly the plot and Fellini's background: "Fellini's roots as a filmmaker are in the postwar Italian Neorealist movement (he worked for Rossellini on Rome, Open City in 1945), and his early films have a grittiness that is gradually replaced by the dazzling phantasms of the later ones. Nights of Cabiria is transitional; it points toward the visual freedom of La Dolce Vita while still remaining attentive to the real world of postwar Rome. The scene involving the good samaritan provides a framework to show people living in city caves and under bridges, but even more touching is the scene where Cabiria turns over the keys of her house to the large and desperately poor family that has purchased it."
- Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress, Giulietta Masina; OCIC Award - Special Mention, Federico Fellini; 1957.
- David di Donatello Awards, Italy: David, Best Director, Federico Fellini; Best Production, Dino De Laurentiis; 1957.
- San Sebastián International Film Festival: Zulueta Prize, Best Actress, Giulietta Masina; 1957.
- Academy Awards: Oscar, Best Foreign Language Film, Italy; 1958.
- Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Silver Ribbon, Best Actress, Giulietta Masina; Best Director, Federico Fellini; Best Producer, Dino De Laurentiis; Best Supporting Actress, Franca Marzi; 1958.
- Sant Jordi Awards, Barcelona, Spain: Sant Jordi, Best Foreign Actress, Giulietta Masina; Best Foreign Director, Federico Fellini; Best Foreign Film, Federico Fellini; Best Foreign Screenplay, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli and Pier Paolo Pasolini; 1959.
- Cinema Writers Circle Awards, Spain: CEC Award, Best Foreign Film, Italy; 1959.
See also 
- List of submissions to the 30th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Italian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- "Nights of Cabiria". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- New York Times article
- This and the following facts about the film's production are taken from a series of interviews with Fellini.
- Rumble, Pasolini: Contemporary Perspectives, p. 171
- Sweet Charity at the Internet Movie Database.
- Scenes were shot on location at Lake Bracciano near Rome. Kezich, 183
- "Full cast and crew for Nights of Cabiria". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- "Locations for Nights of Cabiria". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, October 29, 1957. Last accessed: January 26, 2008.
- Times 1998 review
- Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times, film review, August 16, 1998.
- Truffaut, The Films in My Life
- Nights of Cabiria at Rotten Tomatoes. Last accessed: December 2, 2009.
- "Festival de Cannes: Nights of Cabiria". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 02-08-2009.
- "The 30th Academy Awards (1958) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-25.
- "Awards for Nights of Cabiria". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
- Nights of Cabiria at the Internet Movie Database
- Nights of Cabiria at the TCM Movie Database
- Nights of Cabiria at AllRovi
- Nights of Cabiria at DVD Beaver (includes images)
- Nights of Cabiria film trailer at Reelz Channel
- Nights of Cabiria essay at Criterion Collection by Federico Fellini
- Nights of Cabiria images at EyeGate