Rainer's Review of Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)
This Fellini guy and I, we have a complicated relationship. I think I could like his film weren't it for his neo-realistic roots (most apparent in the milieus in his films and the notorious scenes of people wandering around in bleak suburbs) and his desire to cast his wife Giulietta Masina in every other of his early films.
Cabiria like Gelsomina in La Strada is an utterly na´ve girl who seeks love and luck but seems to not have the guts to actually achieve any of it.
Of course, this is partly because of the time period the film was made in, but these whimsy and weak female characters are just killing me.
What I most enjoyed were the scenes when the neo-realistic bleakness is exchanged with 8 1/2-esque extravaganza (most prominently in the scenes in Alberto Lazzari's house). I think this is more like Fellini's natural environment and I think his visual style suits lavish luxury more than bleak naturalism.
Well, let's continue. After this scene at the film star's mansion, the story goes nowhere for a while until Cabiria meets the next man in her life (the first one, right at the beginning, throw her into a river after stealing her purse), Oscar who she madly falls in love with - and so does he, apparently. It's not that easy though because, as I already mentioned, Cabiria is a na´ve, kinda dim-witted, cow.
The ending is great though, Fellini has a knack for leaving the stage with a big bloody bang and this film proves it.