(In French, On Cable TV, April 2019) Getting through writer-director Federico Fellini’s filmography is a bit like balancing the meat-and-potatoes (with early neorealist films) with the far more exciting desserts (his later, more expressionist material). The Nights of Cabiria is one of the duller meat-and-potatoes courses. It’s neorealism à la Fellini, following the adventures of a prostitute throughout heartbreak, murder attempts and complete destitution. While the tone can approach comedy at times, the unbelievably cruel ending is tough to watch despite last-ditch attempts to show joy. It’s clearly not as oneiric as later Fellini; in fact, it feels closer to other early neorealists like De Sica and that’s not necessarily a good thing when it comes to liking the result. I can’t say whether I liked the great performance by Giulietta Masina’s performance and the somewhat dispiriting depiction of mid-50s Roman slums—both are top-notch, but both made the depressing film even worse. That lack of enthusiasm also explains why the film feels overlong, with multiple episodes that keep on going long after any patience has worn thin. Still, the ending won me over, perhaps more out of beaten-dog sympathy than anything else. If you like Italian neorealism, you know it and you know if you’re going to like The Nights of Cabiria.