Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Nights of Cabiria 

Wednesday, Feb 20 2008
Comments
When Giovanni Pastrone's three-hour, effects-laden masterpiece Cabiria burst onto Italian movie screens in 1913, some clever fellow coined the phrase "cinematographic opera." Nowadays we'd say "epic extravaganza" or some such hokum, but that doesn't begin to cut the senape either. Shot on humongous three-dimensional sets with thousands of extras and a slew of technical innovations, the breathtakingly restored Cabiria -- the highlight of the three-day Cinema Piemonte series -- is an unequivocal jaw-dropper. During the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C., for those who went to public school), in the chaos accompanying the eruption of Mount Etna, Carthaginian pirates snatch the daughter of Roman aristocrats as a splendid sacrifice to Moloch. Can someone, anyone, rescue her? The lovingly photographed festivities include the volcano (naturally), the torching of the Roman fleet, and all the pomp and ritual attending human sacrifice. What a feast! Even the singularly ambitious and talented D. W. Griffith, a man who didn't like coming in second to anyone, admitted watching Cabiria before embarking on Birth of a Nation. Nearly a century later, Cabiria still has the power to amaze and thrill.

Cabiria starts at 4 p.m.
Feb. 29-March 2, 2008

About The Author

Michael Fox

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"