Just one year after winning the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (now known as the Best International Feature Film) in 1956 for his opus “La Strada,” iconic Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini repeated the win with “Nights of Cabiria,” also starring his wife and muse Giulietta Masina. Inspired by her brief appearance in his “The White Sheik,” the episodic drama follows Masina’s Cabiria through a series of interactions and incidents that highlight her search for true love.
When the star-studded film premiered at Cannes, Masina’s work was widely hailed as her best ever, and she went on to win the festival’s Best Actress award for her startling turn as the title heroine.
Over six decades since its release, New York City’s Film Forum is gearing up for a two-week run of the film, freshened up with a new 4K restoration, which also boasts a new translation and subtitles. The film’s 4K restoration comes from TF1 Studio in partnership with Studiocanal and with the support of the CNC. “Nights of Cabiria” was restored at L’immagine Ritrovata Laboratory, Bologna.
Per Film Forum’s synopsis: “Streetwalker ‘Cabiria,’ a seemingly tough cookie, is hypnotized at a bottom-of-the-barrel variety show by a third-rate magician, and what pours out … the innocent dreams of adolescence. Fellini’s showcase role for wife Giulietta Masina … is structured as a series of episodes: robbed of her purse and dumped into the river by a boyfriend, she responds with earthy scorn (the authentic Roman epithets courtesy of Pier Paolo Pasolini) by throwing his things into a bonfire; a famous movie star (played by actual Italian screen heartthrob Amedeo Nazzari) takes Masina off to his luxurious villa; her encounter with a man with a sack, who delivers goods to the homeless (a 7-minute scene cut by producer Dino de Laurentiis and not seen until it was put back by Rialto Pictures in 1998); a tear-drenched pilgrimage to a religious shrine undertaken with the hookers, pimps, and cripples that make up her world; and her romance with an understanding accountant (French star François Périer, the club owner in Melville’s ‘Le Cercle Rouge’) — but there’s a final devastating disillusion, followed by a resurgence that may be the most mysteriously magical shot in all of Fellini’s work.”
Film Forum will open the “Nights of Cabrira” restoration on April 17, with screenings running until April 30. Find out more about the restoration right here, and check out a brand-new trailer for the classic, exclusively on IndieWire, below.