Le Notti di Cabiria (1957) – The best movie I’ve seen. The one movie I recommend seeing to anyone I know over 15 years of age. Go see it now!

I’ll talk on this blog about things I recommend. Some things to do, some people to meet. But this blog post is about something to see: a movie. Perhaps I’m not clear with this. It’s not just a movie, it’s the movie. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

How do one tries to divide a story about the greatest movie seen in all of his life? I don’t know the answer, but here’s my try.

Contents
:
1. The movie context
2. Want a sneak preview?
3. What makes the movie just a bit special?
4. What makes the movie really special?
5. How did she suffer in her early life?
6. After this, what’s the hero’s suffering throughout the movie?
7. What’s ultimate suffering for the character?
8. What’s the preceding part just before the part that tear me apart?
9. What’s the thing that moved me?

1. The movie context
First of all, this movie is in Italian, it’s filmed in the 1950s, black & white. And I have yet to see a more beautiful movie. You might want to see the movie yourself, make an opinion on him and then read my review. It has spoilers. And reading about it will lower the intensity of discovering things by yourself.

The movie was directed by Federico FELLINI. The main character, Maria ‘Cabiria’ Ceccarelli, is played by Giulietta MASINA. It lasts about two hours and it is also immortal.

The movie won an Oscar from the Academy Awards in 1958 for the “Best Foreign Language Film” (Italy). One year earlier, at the “Cannes Film Festival”, Giulietta MASINA got the “Best Actress” award.

2. Want a sneak preview?
Have a look at the Le Notti di Cabiria movie trailer on YouTube.
Read some facts and opinions on the movie from IMDb page for Notti di Cabiria, Le (1957). I found the comments to be accurate.

3. What makes the movie just a bit special?
The main character has some sad, angry and upset moments (at the beginning, after a near-death experience, she is very angry), and some happy moments. The transformation is beautiful. You just have to love her when she smiles and laughs. But that’s just a small reason for making this movie the best movie I’ve seen in my life.

I want to stress out something right from the beginning: she’s a person who’s upset. She’s angry, fast tempered. But then she smiles, she laughs, she has an innocence. I’ll tell you next that her life was, is and will be hard. And nowhere in the movie do you see her upset for too long. She goes from this to that in no-time. You don’t feel her sufferance in the movie. It all seems natural, she takes hits with a joy, when she falls she bounces back. And the final, oh the final … But we’ll get to that.

4. What makes the movie really special?
The love for life. In just a few words, the movie can be summed up like this: a person selling her body for sex, having prostitutes as friends and poor persons as neighbors, living at the outskirts of Rome (at the end of this movie I would call this character a Great Lady) suffers throughout the movie. Her final reaction to this huge suffering is astonishing.

5. How did she suffer in her early life?
Well, having a mother that would make you prostitute for money, earning money as a prostitute for decades and living in a poor area would imply suffering.

6. After this, what’s the hero’s suffering throughout the movie?
Heart: She suffers at the beginning of the movie when she is almost killed by drowning for some money by her lover.
Body: She suffers from being almost poor and from prostitution situation

7. What’s ultimate suffering for the character?
1. In the end of the movie, she suffers this huge disappointment: for the second time in her life someone intends to kill her for her money and almost does it; it was a person she loved with all her heart and intends to marry;
2. In the scenes depicted in the movie she starts to see hope in her life from Virgin Mary and she prays to her; I think this is the first time in her life she hopes something from Divinity; she prays to Virgin Mary for a better life, out of prostitution; she almost gets a new life being almost married, then all of the sudden, at the end of the movie, this new dream vanquishes; she would probably return to prostitution, but this is not clear; what happens to her hope in Divinity? well, this might fade also;
3. At the end of the movie she sells her house and she gets from the bank all of her money; these are all stolen; all her belongings are sold; all that connects her physically with this world (house, money) are gone; I think she still has a suitcase and she’s got the care of some friends; that’s about all she has left in this world; the fact that before hadn’t had much either is yet another argument: just the few things she had (a house and some money in the bank) are stolen from her; it’s hard to see this happening to you.

So, at the end of the movie we have a character that:
1. Has suffered throughout her life from lack of love (poor treatment from parents, no real person to love her, just a close friend and some acquaintances);
2. Every time this person tries to get love (at first from parents who don’t love her, then from the lover who tries to kill her at the beginning of the movie, then from the lover at the end of the movie who again intends to kill her), she is rejected; the final rejection, from the person she intends to marry, is hugely difficult (it’s yet another time she gets a huge hit from the person she loves most in this world; please note that her parents sent her to become a prostitute);
3. Her very first attempt to get close to Virgin Mary (and Divinity) is at first leading to huge hope (a marriage almost occurs, she leaves prostitution, she’s got a new life), then a huge disappointment (the marriage is gone, her occupation in the future is unclear, her new life is poorer than before);
4. Has had a life that could be described by everyone at least as “hard”: physically beaten, emotionally abused, hard conditions for living, poor social status;
5. Has almost been killed by drowning twice; and this by persons she fully trusted and loved;
6. At the end of the movie she has lost her house (which she sold) and all her money in the bank account.

8. What’s the preceding part just before the part that tear me apart?
At the end of the movie the sufferance is complete. She is almost killed, the almost-husband leaves her, he gets all her money (including the money for the house), she is somewhere in the woods. Before the second lover leaves her, she asks him to kill her. She insists. She actually yells at him to kill her, while crying. He leaves her, taking her money.

9. What’s the thing that moved me?
And then it happens. The one thing that makes me want to see this movie infinite times. The one thing that makes you love life with all your heart. The one act that makes a prostitute (or ex-prostitute) do one of the best acts a human being could ever make: laugh. How come, you ask? In the final scene, she is surrounded by some happy people, she is walking, they walk alongside her. They are all joyful (they don’t know what happened to her, and it’s night), and she looks at them and she takes their joy: she laughs. After all her tough life. After just going through a horrible mind-blowing experience, she takes from the unsuspecting happy people that surround her the joy: she laughs. She loves life. She’s happily living in the present. The laughs that changes the world. She changes reality. Nothing is the same. She has a tough life, she’s hit and none of this exist in her: she laughs. There’s more than hope: there’s victory. Now. Right now she laughs. The world was changed by the joy on her face. Is it hard for her to this? Tears fall from her eyes, and her laugh is barely visible. But the joy is there. The happiness is present.

This movie is the best proof I’ve seen on screen that life deserves to be lived. There is no second movie after this. Ultimate movie. Highly recommended. It’s the reason to see movies. It’s the reason to create an account on IMDb and vote just one movie. And then comment on the movie. One comment only. It’s a reason to change your email signature. It’s a reason to change your Yahoo! Messenger status for weeks. It’s the one reason for buying a DVD player and one DVD only.

Later edit: and a quote:

Of all his characters, Fellini once said, Cabiria was the only one he was still worried about. In 1992, when Fellini was given an honorary career Oscar, he looked down from the podium to Masina sitting in the front row and told her not to cry. The camera cut to her face, showing her smiling bravely through her tears, and there was Cabiria. (source)

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