What should I say about this Italian Writer- Director whose four films won Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Awards and a year ago his death; he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1992 Academy Awards. Italy has given some of the most artistic directors and their masterpiece cinemas during the rise of Neo Realistic Movement and Federico Fellini was the last precursor of that era. I start my exploration of Fellini with this masterpiece which brought him the first Academy honor of Best Film.
It is humanistic idea that people are innately good, but their circumstances makes them what they act and it’s the concurrent theme of almost all Neorealist films and as a result we got some fine, simple humanitarian cinema that last long forever.
‘Nights of Cabiria’ is a touching sentimental journey of an innocent, romantic road side call girl expecting miracle in form of true love. In the initial scene we come to notice that how she was duped by her lover and lost her hard earned money. Still she continued her hope intact and soon one fine night a famous actor brought her to his palace like home when his girlfriend departed him. But soon the happiness turned into an embarrassment very next morning. She also begs God for a miracle to change her life. Within a short time she meets a noble man who’s willing to marry her. She is at the height of her happiness. But it was no longer destined for her.
With her lean body, tiny height and almost ordinary looks the character of poor and orphan working class optimistic young girl ‘Cabiria’ is wonderfully performed by Giulietta Masina ( the real life wife of Fellini). Her insatiable desire and dream of searching true love and happiness got disillusioned by the harsh reality of the selfish society. She made the audience felt the grace and dignity of her character in all her raw emotional intensity, charm and innocence and that’s why she won Best Actress Award in Cannes Film Festival for this film.
Fellini maintained the subtlety of class conflict in many of the scenes- an unavoidable everyday reality of our life. Many critics believed that it was the last neorealist film that Fellini has made. What he made after this is more surreal, fantasy and a kind of autobiographical cinema.