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Nights of Cabiria, Directed by Federico Fellini

Le Notti di Cabiria, Paramount Italiana, May 26, 1957 (Italy)

Screenplay: Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, and Pier Paolo Pasolini

Starring: Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Amedeo Nazzari, and Aldo Silvani

Our heroine, the whore. She won’t get fooled again. You don’t get pushed into a river left to die at the hands of a man you thought loved you and not end up drawing a line in the sand. No, no, no, (insert “Tara’s Theme”), as God as her witness, she won’t get fooled again!

Will she?

The beauty of this Fellini trip into the world of cave dwellers, whores, and other “worms of the earth,” is the enduring power of the human spirit. Undying belief in love and unwavering faith in the kindness of strangers is a locked treasure that even thieves cannot steal away, try as they may. The world can rob of us of everything—family and friends, material possessions, every last penny—but the one thing that can never be stolen is our spirit. The light may dim, the candles may even blow out completely, but the power of hope and faith that comes from inside of our hearts is an eternal flame, ready to reignite our burnt souls whenever we are ready once again to step out of the darkness.

Priest: Now approach the alter of the Virgin. Look into her sweet eyes, and in her glance, each one of you will feel the light of hope turned on in your heart.

Cabiria’s spirit slashes across the screen from start to finish. She’s an open book of passion and life. Her unwavering faith is so intoxicating that you can’t help but be swallowed by it. To see the world through her eyes and heart is to immediately suspend skepticism and to believe in justice, believe that it will prevail, and to even believe in miracles.

Maria “Cabiria” Ceccarelli (Giulietta Masina): I guess there is some justice in the world. You suffer, you go through hell … but then happiness comes along for everyone.

When Cabiria’s faith in love is rewarded at last in the arms of the oh-so-perfect Mr. Right, we have no choice but to follow, eyes wide shut, and celebrate in the exhilarating warmth of the embrace. Miracles can happen. Miracles do happen!

Don’t they?