Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957)
Nights of Cabiria (1957) is my favorite Federico Fellini neo-realist film. Compared to his autobiographical reflexive, and reflective, later work (8½, Roma, Amarcord) the focus of Nights of Cabiria is melancholic as it gives attention to the plight of the poverty-stricken lower class. A great example of 1950s art house cinema it is exotic, wistful and full of disenchantment. The story follows a spirited and naive prostitute Cabiria Ceccarelli (Giulietta Masina) and her endearing endeavor's to find some sort of financial, romantic, and social security in a desolate post-war Roman landscape. Cabiria is filmed with such warmth and admiration that the devastating climax is one of the most wrenching scenes in film history.-D.D.