Wonderworks Moving Pictures: Day 19 “Cabiria, why you so stupid?”

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Giulietta Masina plays Cabiria

Here’s the deal with me and Fellini – I don’t like him. It’s not his fault. He is an excellent filmmaker and visionary or auteur or whatever. I am not denying that. The problem for me is that I was introduced to the world of Fellini with the wrong Fellini film. Someone in some film class I took thought that it would be best to first expose students to Fellini by way of Satyricon. Satyricon? What the hell? It’s like someone saying “I’ve never had any alcoholic drinks before” so you give them a double shot of Bacardi 151 with an Everclear chaser. Or someone who never had drugs before saying “I think I’ll start with some of that crack I’ve been hearing so much about.”

Today we watched Nights of Cabiria, a Fellini film from 1957 about a plucky prostitute with an independent spirit, a survivor in spite of her situation. The film is very episodic in nature. The cinematography is gorgeous especially the night scenes with Cabiria on the streets of Rome. But, like I said, I was introduced to Fellini with the wrong film. I could have been shown an image like this –

Night club.

Night club.

But instead, I was shown images like these –

fellinisatyricon4

What the hell, Federico, what the hell?

Seriously, what the hell?

Seriously, what the hell?

That will stop you cold turkey on Fellini.

Not Cabiria, it can be a gateway drug of a film, leading people down the path to the harder stuff like Satyricon. That is unless you are bothered by Italian women shouting almost continuously, which I am.

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Of, by the way, they made this into a broadway musical and eventually a musical film called Sweet Charity. I can’t watch it either.

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