DIRECTOR'S CUT

Monty Hellman on an electric look in Fellini's Nights of Cabiria
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The Independent Culture
Throughout Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, Giulietta Masina as Cabiria (right) is treated horribly by every man in her life. At the end, a man whom she loved and who didn't love her robs her and tries to kill her and treats her as badly as he possibl y could.

She somehow survives and pulls herself together, though she's in terrible shape, and starts to walk down a road. A band of players is going by, very gay and lively. She looks at somebody who smiles at her. She comes alive again and smiles back.

Then finally the thing that profoundly affected me is: she looks into the camera at the audience, and smiles at us. It breaks the reality of the world you've created and, at the few moments when you do it become electric. I guess we call it Brechtian.

One thing that makes Fellini important for me is the fact that he was so personal: he used cinema to tell his own story, from his very first films like The White Sheikh. Being completely autobiographical is the most universal thing that we can do. And what made Fellini unique was not only that he was personal: he let us into the world of his imagination. He was fantastic. It was not only his life, but his dreams - and his nightmares.

n Monty Hellman will introduce a season of his films, including `Two Lane Blacktop' and `The Shooting', on 3 January at the National Film Theatre, London SE1 (071-928 3232).

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