Mamma Roma (1962)
Critic Reviews for Mamma Roma
A key transitional work for the cinematic subversive, a seriously damning portrait of maternal martyrdom and, in a killer final shot, upward mobility.
It almost inevitably dis- appoints, one is tempted to a bit of hindsight and reassessment.
Magnani is the only professional actor in a cast of non-professionals and her overwrought emotional performance contrasts greatly with all the other natural performances.
Pasolini's second film showcases Anna Magnani with a minimum of sentimentality in a bleak, pitiless Eternal City of the early '60s.
Audience Reviews for Mamma Roma
I think this is the earliest Pasolini film I've seen, and it's really pretty good, it has a good story, although it's sort of predictable, the end is good.
A bravado performance by Anna Magnani in an early Pier Paolo Pasolini film, when Pasolini was still heavily under the sway of neo-realism. You may be hearing Magnani's robust laugh in your sleep for days after watching. The script is a bit wobbly in deciding whether it's a story about Magnani's character or her teenage son, but the ending is surprisingly dramatic. Be patient with the slow opening, and stick with it. I loved the bit with Magnani sauntering down the night streets, indulgently monologuing about herself while other loiterers casually trade off on being her sounding board.
The Italian auteurs? cinematic roots were in neo-realism, yet diverged as their respective styles developed. Aside from Pasolini's political leanings, it is easy to forget he is part of the tradition. This early film is representative of the genre with its trademark usage of natural settings, unknown actors, and class exploration. Yet, it also diverges by casting a well-known actress and idiosyncratic camerawork. Pasolini?s incorporation of the marginalized and psycho-sexual themes (think Oedipal) are his own unique signature. What ultimately sticks with me in this film is the priest?s statement to Mamma Roma regarding Ettore: 'You can't make something from nothing.' Yet, this is precisely what Mamma Roma is attempting to do with her son and herself. This is a damning declaration against petit bourgeois values and attempts to move above your class. Anna Magnani as Mamma Roma is larger than life, high spirited, hard working, but is an unredeemed character. This is a visionary indictment of the human spirit ~ an implied consequence of Italy?s political inheritance.
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