An early classic of the silent era, Cabiria is about a young woman named Cabiria who gets captured by Roman enemies, the Carathagians. Two brave Romans or rather one brave Roman and his slave, go on many missions to rescue her. They get and then lose her again and again. Meanwhile she is threatened to be sacrificed by the High Priests to the Bronze god Moloch, made a slave to the queen of Carthage, threatened to be sacrificed again, and then taken hostage by some gropping men. The whole time, despite the lovely sets and the sequence where the little girls are being sacrificed to the God and the daring escape of Cabiria, I was bored to death.
It was all my fault. I admit I am not the best when it comes to silent films. I have this barrier where silent films can’t seem to penetrate. Until recently it was silent films and westerns that I couldn’t get past and am infinitely bored by. Although I still don’t like most westerns, I have grown to love the conventions and the plot lines. However most silent films still get me to the point where I fall asleep. I guess marveling at the inventions, the ingenuity, and the theatrics can only get me so far. I have to be invested in the story. A couple of silents have slipped through the cracks like Faust, Charlie Chaplin films and Buster Keaton films, but for most of the silents, I am resistant. Resistant to its pull. I hate myself for it.
Since a lot of silent films are in the public domain, they are on netflix watch instant. So I suppose I will start another column in order to get over my silent hump. Every Sunday I will watch one silent film and I will try to state my opinions without being too whiny. I will try to stay awake during the epics and forgive them for their rampant racism. Also if the silent films that I had watched before are on instant, then I will watch them again and try to figure out a different way to approach them. I will also try to do my research and find out why I needed to watch this film historically.
This is the earliest silent film that I have ever seen and I hope to rectify that also. I know this film had major influence on directors that I love like Fellini and Scorcese. I also know that this film cost the most at the time and is full of crazy intricate sets that are actually really beautiful. If only studios would build everything from scratch nowadays instead of relying on CGI.
I might also watch modern day silents, in particular Guy Maddin films in order to see how strong a hold silent films still have on us. I hope I can make that connection. Well I guess I will see you next sunday when I watch another silent. Good luck to me.