Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (1957) provides us with various levels of content. First, it is the story of a dissatisfied, certainly unloved prostitute (Giulietta Masina, masterly). Second, it is an unprofound but appealing portrait of life in 1950s Italy. Third, it presents Fellini inching toward what is to me religious or transcendent truth, albeit it is inconclusive about it.
Truth to tell, however, any religious theme in Cabiria is not quite as interesting as the prostitute’s being victimized by the diverse appetites, not always sexual, of men. But there is a remarkable contrast between these self-seeking men and the peregrine gent who helps destitute individuals living in caves (life in 1950s Italy?) That is, not all the men in the film are scoundrels.