Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

1957

Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 37

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,902
User image

Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) Photos

Movie Info

Nights of Cabiria opens with Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) and her boyfriend playfully embracing by the seaside -- and then he shoves her into the water and steals her purse. Cabiria is revived by some local boys and runs off by herself, shouting. What follows is a series of similarly humiliating episodes, in which the defiantly positive prostitute Cabiria is hurt, but never broken. She gets picked up by movie star Alberto Lazzati (Amedeo Nazzari, doing a self-parody) and taken to his palatial estate. However, his mistress shows up and Cabiria gets locked in the bathroom all night with the dog. She then joins her fellow prostitutes for a blessing from the Virgin Mary, and ends up getting drunk and wandering into a local show, where the hypnotist invites her to join him on-stage. The audience heckles her, and she toughly reminds them of her independence and that she owns her own house. There she meets Oscar (François Perier), an accountant who romantically pursues her. Despite the warnings of her fellow prostitute friend, Wanda (Franca Marzi), she prepares to sell all her belongings and accept Oscar's proposal of marriage. After being ruthlessly taken advantage of once again, Cabiria walks off alone with a smirk of hope.

Watch it now

Cast

News & Interviews for Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

Critic Reviews for Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11)

  • 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.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • What makes the character so poignant is that her final fortification is not her street wisdom -- that's all surface -- but her innocence. Her ultimate protection is our sympathy for her.

    Jul 21, 2005
  • Even in the mutilated version of the film, Masina shone and sparkled in her shabby role.

    May 19, 2005 | Full Review…

    Andrew Sarris

    Observer
    Top Critic
  • Through [Masina's] unforgettable performance, Cabiria will endure as long as anyone cares to watch transcendence projected on a screen.

    Feb 13, 2001 | Full Review…
  • A deep, wrenching and eloquent filmgoing experience.

    Jan 1, 2000
  • The gift of Cabiria's essence, freed from the determinism of stories, is to return us to our own.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4

Audience Reviews for Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

  • May 04, 2016
    Giulietta Masina plays Cabiria in Federico Fellini's 1957 film "Nights of Cabiria." Cabiria is a poor woman who is forced to become a prostitute, but dreams of love. She looks for love in all the wrong places as many men she fell in love with steal from her. Masina is absolutely amazing, she owns the film. She is a kind, gentle woman. She knows she's not in God's grace and at times she must believes she is being punished by God. Wonderful film and a great introduction to Fellini's work.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2015
    Giulietta Masina should be forever remembered for her flawless performance in this profoundly touching and devastating tragicomic masterpiece, making us root for her character and her happiness in such a way that it is hard to be left unmoved by what unfolds before us.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2012
    Aside from being a masterful surrealist, it is also very notable to state that Federico Fellini is also a morally powerful and spiritually transcendent filmmaker. This is, of course, very much evident here in "Nights of Cabiria", an unforgettable cinematic masterpiece that traverses the widely unseen and unheard (at the time) world of prostitution and the soulful humanity that bleeds through and through albeit the blind sexuality contained within it. Although it is much expected that the film shall highlight the more obscene aspect of what many consider as the 'oldest profession in the world' just like, say, Luis Bunuel's later film "Belle de Jour", "Nights of Cabiria" is surprisingly very mellow with the jobs' details and instead delves not on the inner workings of the affordable sex that they offer or on what motivates prostitutes to continue on doing what they're doing but on the reasons why they should not anymore. At the center of it all is the energetic yet at times very temperamental Cabiria (played by Giulietta Masina), a prostitute who can be the most romantically jaded one minute yet can also be the most hopelessly romantic in the next. With a face that still echoes her heartbreaking turn in Fellini's earlier film "La Strada", Giulietta Masina, with her sometimes tomboyish facial expressions and mime-like gestures reminiscent of silent film stars, is a beautiful embodiment of both melancholy and hope. With her consistently comical body language and a face that fluctuates between naughtiness and confusion, Cabiria is evidently a most complex character to pull off. But despite of that, Masina has done it as if without much effort. Yes, perhaps there are no scenes that show her participating in any simulated sexual congress. And yes, perhaps Giulietta Masina does not, in any way, physically resemble an actual prostitute, what with her small stature and relatively frail body frame. But with the help of her masterful evocation of Cabiria's romantic naivety and pure humanity, she has been most believable as one in much the same way Philip Seymour Hoffman is never a dead ringer for Truman Capote (Toby Jones relatively gets that distinction) yet he has made us believe that he actually is the "In Cold Blood" writer for close to 2 hours mainly because of how inspired his performance was. But then of course, Giulietta Masina's powerful performance wouldn't really be as penetrating if not for Nino Rota's stirring musical score, the film's often dream-like photography and Fellini's patient direction which has perfectly built-up the film until its heart-breaking yet hopeful finale. Just like Fellini's masterpiece "La Dolce Vita", "Nights of Cabiria" is a film that's highly dependent not on how or where the so-called 'carnival of life' will bring the main characters to but how he/she may figure in the playfulness and hysteria of it all. In one of the film's most resonant sequences, Cabiria, along with her co-workers, joined a small pilgrimage heading towards the Santuario della Madonna so that they can ask her for forgiveness and guide. Albeit her countless pleads for mercy and various promises to change her way of life, Cabiria never felt any better or different, and so do her co-workers. Although a filmmaker that largely incorporates religious symbolism into his films, Fellini seems always aware that religion will always be a mere spiritual opiate and nothing more; that fate solely depends on whatever life a person leads and not on some higher power; that some music and a smile, not some wooden idols and a haplessly fevered devotion to the great unknown, can make the world of difference. With "Nights of Cabiria", Federico Fellini has made us all believe that despair can merely be shrugged off by a more than hopeful countenance. For the longest time, cinema has often made us feel the utter fruitlessness of existence and how it is almost impossible to graduate from life pristine and unscathed. "Nights of Cabiria", perhaps the best film ever made that deals with the emotional and moral conflict buried deep within the heart of prostitution, is a precious piece of art that genuinely captures the elusive essence of hope amidst anguish rarely seen in today's cinema.
    Ivan D Super Reviewer
  • May 16, 2012
    Giulietta Masina ("La strada") is absolutely devastating in her role as the titular Cabiria in "Nights of Cabiria" (and when I say devastating, I mean it only in the best sense). Cabiria is quite a character to say the least. A prostitute who puts on a big loud and tough exterior yet is almost fatally naive when it comes to love. In an opening scene, her boyfriend robs her and pushes her in the river to drown. She tries to play it off as an accident, a lover's tiff, but her friends know better. All of her mannerisms suggest someone who's putting on an act, and it doesn't feel as if we're ever allowed to see the "real" Cabiria. Well, almost. Towards the end of the film, we're shown (quite intentionally by director Federico Fellini) the true motivations of certain characters. It's this foreshadowing, allowing the audience in on things, that makes it so heartbreaking when Cabiria finally catches on. Cabiria is all the innocence of the world that we must so desperately cling to, in order to preserve even the slightest remainder of it. Giulietta Masina was married to Fellini for many years and it's through her we see his unique world view focused. Nights of Cabiria features many Fellini signatures: the robust yet voluptious woman, the skeletal structure silhouetted against the sky, and the seemingly random parade of fools, which in Cabiria's world, signals the final triumph of innocence over cynicism: that even in the darkest hour, we can be swayed to smile by the music of children, if it is truly in our nature to do so.
    Devon B Super Reviewer

Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features