“Listen — I’m fine the way I am. I got everything.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
I’m not sure I fully agree with the rest of Peary’s assessment — particularly his remark that Cabiria “doesn’t wise up and remains completely trusting of men.” Even as Cabiria seems to soften in later portions of the film (her eyebrows literally shift from angled to curved), it’s not men she begins to trust, but rather her ability to make the best of life no matter what is thrown at her.
She fights off jealous or combative women, and while men continue to attempt to take advantage of her, she is always on the ready to defy and deny their assertions that she needs them in order to thrive. For instance, she rejects an offer by a smug pimp (Ennio Girolami) to come under his protection:
… and enjoys dancing in her own inimitable style when taken to a nightclub by Nazzari, caring not a whit that he doesn’t join in.
While Cabiria is temporarily taken in by a “wise” magician who gets her to literally let her guard down:
… and she is slowly flattered by the gentle and insistent attention Périer pays to her:
… she never loses her sense of self-worth or dignity for more than brief moments at a time. Cabiria will get up again and again, and keep joining in the festival of life.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)