Cabiria. Wow. One of the first epic feature films ever, and one of the first (if not the first) to use a motion camera. Something that seems so simple nowadays we take it for granted, Cabiria was really quite something back in its day. It’s still quite something now, but it’s from a different time and requires a different sort of viewing.
Set during the Second Punic War, in the early 200s BCE, there’s a lot going on here. Armies invading, volcanos erupting, cities crumbling. Our story focuses on young Cabiria, a girl who is saved from the rubble and nearly sacrificed to Moloch (pictured above).
This film is over two hours long and feels like it could be six. Obviously, at over a century old, the conventions of film were different back then – indeed, they hadn’t even been invented yet, and this film is responsible for setting some of them. But as a window to these stories, and to what we thought of those times a hundred years ago, it’s a marvelous masterpiece that deserves a close watch.
And don’t forget that killer human pyramid scene.