In 1957, Fellini was still as indebted to neo-realism as to surrealism, and this melancholy tale of a prostitute working the outskirts of Rome is notable for its straightforward depiction of destitution. It may come as a surprise to those who know only Fellini's later work. It's easy to appreciate how Bob Fosse, Neil Simon and Peter Stone found a musical in it (Sweet Charity): Fellini orchestrates his story in waves of simple, pure emotion, telegraphed with silent screen gusto by Giulietta Masina. With her Noh eyebrows and white bobby socks, Masina is the missing link between Charlie Chaplin and Shirley MacLaine. One of life's eternal optimists, Cabiria one day meets the man of her prayers (Périer), and what follows is scarcely unexpected, but heartbreaking for all that. This new (1999) print features a seven minute sequence not seen since the film's Cannes premiere - Cabiria's encounter with a stranger delivering food parcels to the poor. Censored apparently at the behest of the Catholic Church, it underlines the severity of the social context, deepens Cabiria's character and serves as a poignant harbinger of things to come.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli|