This posting is for yesterdays (Thursday) viewing, I seem to be day behind on the reviews at the moment!
91 / 365 – ‘Nights of Cabiria’ (1957) – 110 mins
IMDb Challenge #54 / 250 – Ranked #226 – Via DVD Collection
Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) is a wide-eyed waif, a street-walker living in a poor section of Rome where she owns her little house, has a bank account, and dreams of a miracle. We follow her nights (and days): a boyfriend steals 40,000 lire from her and nearly drowns her, a movie star on the Via Veneto takes her home with him, at a local shrine she seeks the Madonna’s intercession, then she meets an accountant who’s seen her, hypnotized on a vaudeville stage, acting out her heart’s longings. He courts her. Is it fate that led to their meeting? Is this finally a man who appreciates her for who she is?
Having from time to time briefly heard of filmmaker Federico Fellini this was the first time I had encountered a film of the Italian’s. There’s not much in the way of plot, but Nights of Cabiria zings with life from the start as you follow Cabiria’s (Giulietta Masina, who is an alluring delight) experiences, mishaps and musings, whilst wrestling with her own existence which never fails to be engaging and entertaining.
92 / 365 – ‘La Strada’ (1954) – 108 mins
IMDb Challenge #55 / 250 – Ranked #194 – Via DVD Collection
Travelling strongman Zampano buys the simple waif Gelsomina from her impoverished mother and trains her to assist in his act. Despite his brutality, Gelsomina remains devoted to Zampano, even after Matto, a kindly clown and high-wire walker, takes a shine to her after they join a circus.
Funny you wait ages to view your first Federico Fellini film then two happen in the same day, well this and ‘Nights of Cabiria’ were part of a recent box set purchase so it was only fitting to view them as a double bill.
Fellini’s telling of La Strada is deceptively simple, which bases itself around the concept of a brute in the heartfelt company of an angel. Anthony Quinn is brilliant in the role as the savage strongman, but it is Masina’s film (also Fellini’s wife) who is truly astonishing as the Chaplinesque clowning, wide-eyed wonder and it is Gelsomina’s sad clown face that remains the film’s most haunting image.
93 / 365 – ‘Network’ (1976) – 121 mins
IMDb Challenge #56 / 250 – Ranked #196 – Via Sky Movies
Howard Beale, the aging UBS news anchor, has lost his once strong ratings share and so the network fires him. Beale reacts in an unexpected way. We then see how this affects the fortunes of Beale, his coworkers (Max Schumacher and Diana Christensen), and the network.
Prolific Director, Producer and Screenwriter Sidney Lumet who sadly passed away recently made some true unforgettable films in his career; ’12 Angry Men’ ‘The Verdict’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon’.
Theres definitely a lot like in Lumet’s cut throat satire of the TV news industry, its scintillating dialogue even it appears to be overwritten at times, superb performances all round with the pick of the bunch being Peter Finch’s Oscar-winning turn as Howard Beale who has a public breakdown and starts spouting off his own non-sensical ramblings in a very public forum with the classic line “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” – which it immediately draws parallels to the current Charlie Sheen circus doing the rounds. There is also a moment involving Ned Beatty’s character Arthur Jensen that’s downright electrifying and is worth watching the film for just that scene alone.