Lost in the Movies: Side by Side: Nights of Cabiria & La Dolce Vita (video)

Side by Side: Nights of Cabiria & La Dolce Vita (video)

This video concludes both my five-entry Side by Side series and my run of new video essays this past month - which itself began with a tribute to Federico Fellini ("Far Away Shores" in my Montage series, joining La Strada with the two films featured here). This was the last subject I settled on after all the other videos were conceived, and the very last I edited (I'm writing these words on March 14, after beginning work on the Montage video way back in early 2018). I'm excited to dive into these two films here; the whole point of the Side by Side series is to create a dance between two works' similarities and differences, using each quality to emphasize the other, and Fellini's back-to-back masterpieces provide perfect fodder for this approach. Both chronicle their protagonists' journeys through Roman nights but the two characters begin and end up in very different places. Describing this is one thing; illustrating it was truly a joy. (A poignant one, at that; I had forgotten how profoundly moving the ending of Nights of Cabiria is in particular.)

I reviewed Nights of Cabiria as part of my Favorites series in 2016, reviewed La Dolce Vita as part of my Big Ones series in 2011, and compared La Dolce Vita with Twin Peaks, mostly to the similarly structured seven-days-and-seven-nights film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, on my Patreon podcast in 2019. That discussion built on a brief juxtaposition (one of my original "side by side" ventures) in "The Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer", a chapter in my Journey Through Twin Peaks series. Speaking of Journey, the next time I post a video essay - in a week to be precise, on the thirtieth anniversary of a certain show's pilot - will be my first entry in that series in five years. Something else (also related to Journey, though not officially a chapter) may post in the meantime, but we'll see. Schedules are welcome, but so are surprises, and there will be plenty of those in the months to come - for better or worse. Let's try to provide some of the better ones.

also available on Vimeo:

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