Anna Magnani is Mamma Roma, a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son. Filmed in the great tradition of Italian neorealism, Mamma Roma offers an unflinching loo... more »k at the struggle for survival in postwar Italy, and highlights director Pier Paolo Pasolini#s lifelong fascination with the marginalized and dispossessed. Though banned upon its release in Italy for obscenity, today Mamma Roma is considered a classic: a glimpse at a country#s most controversial director in the process of finding his style and a powerhouse performance by one of cinema#s greatest actresses.« less
"The legendary Pier Paolo Pasolini was an essayist, poet, political activist, and a film maker who made Mamma Roma in the 60s as Anna Magnani requested to make a film with him. The result of the collaboration between the two left the world with a marvelous cinematic experience. However, Mamma Roma was condemned after its release as it was deemed immoral. Mamma Roma is not Pasolini's most famous film, but it is an essential piece of cinematic history as it tackles many different issues such as the catholic church, prostitution, and parenting.The tale begins with Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) who has recently gotten rid of her pimp boyfriend as he has married another woman. Delighted Mamma Roma seeks out her 16-year-old son Ettore whom she has not seen since infancy as she struggles with her guilt of deserting Ettore when he was a baby. She is also ashamed of her past as a prostitute and wants to start over as a fruit vendor and be the mother she never was for Ettore. However, Mamma Roma has no skills in raising a child and is even less equipped to handle a teenager that has been neglected since childhood. This is in the backdrop of Mamma Roma's old boyfriend threatening to unveil her secret to her son, and her political thoughts of injustices in the 60s Italy.Mamma Roma is an exploration of the symbiosis that exists between mother and son, but Pasolini removes this connection between the Mamma Roma and Ettore as she abandoned Ettore at infancy. The abandonment leaves the audience with the gap between Mamma Roma and Ettore. This gap is closely examined as Mamma Roma and Ettore initially reunite in order to later drift apart due to years of missing parental guidance. Pasolini personifies neglect and poor parental guidance through Anna Magnani, Mamma Roma, who is frenetically trying to be a good mother. Mamma Roma's parental attempts bring an understanding of the symbiosis that connects a mother and her son through parental care, yet her love for Ettore is not enough as her words do not mean anything to Ettore."
Mamma Mia! Mamma Roma!
Impostazione | New York City Area | 05/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You would have to understand what I mean by saying natural. Mamma Roma was a natural woman, a sunny, vibrant, sometimes crazy character. Pasolini was infatuated by those who were not shaped by civilization and those on the margins of society. The beginning of the movie is amazing. There is laughter, singing, call and response, all of which is so beautiful to see and feel that I had to rewind rewind the DVD just to see it again. There is something in Mamma Roma that is very rare in our world today.
I can't really tell you why I could not stop watching this wonderful movie. Was it the touching love this former prostitute had for her son? Was it her infectuous laugh? Was it the fate that she accepted so beautifully? I don't know but in spite of everything, she was beautiful in a way that a Hollywood woman could never be. Yet, perhaps the secret of Mamma Roma is that she embraced life for all that its worth or not worth. Never once did I get the impression that she would prefer to be someone else.
Pasolini does not always hit the mark but with this one he seemed to make all the right decisions. I can still her laughing!
A touching and red-blooded film!"
Excellent Film - Great Look
Stalwart Kreinblaster | Xanadu | 09/13/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of my favorite black and white films - it is black and white in the true sense of the words - the whites stand out and the blacks are dark - no half tones. Pasolini and Tonino Delli Colli had a fine collaboration here - the framing is exquisite. Not to mention the acting, some have said Magnani was the wrong choice (including Pasolini) - but I think she really lights up this film - and provides an emotion no other actress would have achieved. 5 stars without hesitation."
Figlio Di Puttana - A PG-13 Review
Antonio Giusto | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 10/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That's pretty much what this film is about. For those of you who don't know "figlio di puttana" is Italian for "a whore's son" or "son of a whore". It is a common everyday Italian insult. It's used in the same way as the North American saying "son of a bitch." This was my first time watching a film by Pier Paulo Pasolini and I was extremely impressed. I plan to watch all of his films in the near future. As I stated before Mamma Roma is a story about a whore (Mamma Roma) and her son (Ettore). I won't write any more about the story than what I already have. A review that reveals too much about a film really doesn't serve as a review but rather as a boring synopsis. I would like to say that Criterion has done an amazing job with this DVD. The special features on this 2 disc set are really good and contain some very rare documentaries and short films. The DVD also contains Pasolini's previously banned, short and shocking film "La Ricotta." It stars Orson Welles and is a gem worth buying all it's own. It's the best special feature I have ever seen on a Criterion disc. Die hard fans of Orson Welles should really pick this DVD up. Even if they don't like Mamma Roma that short film is worth it alone. 5 Stars."
Ode to mother's love.
Galina | Virginia, USA | 01/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Mamma Roma"(1962) the second film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini, is the brutally realistic in its depiction of life in the slums of Rome yet lyrical ode to mother's love. Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani), a middle-aged prostitute is ready to quit her profession and to start a new life with her teenage son who had spent his childhood in the country and does not know her well. She wants a better life for herself and a meaningful future for her son, and there is not much her Mamma Roma would not do for her son. Things don't go as planned, though...
Anna Magnani was renowned for her earthy, passionate, "woman-of-the-soil" roles and she is one of the main reasons to see the film. She is Rome's flesh and soul, its spirit and symbol, its loud laugh and bitter tears."