Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog

Mamma Roma

Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on April 5, 2013 at 10:35 PM


Pier Paolo Pasolini


IDEA:  A former prostitute moves the son she never knew from rural Italy to a middle-class apartment in Rome, hoping to better both of their lives.

BLURB:  The tragedy of social stagnancy is elevated to scorching heights in Mamma Roma, Pasolini’s modern neorealist masterpiece. Anna Magnani is the titular Mamma, a carnal, overflowing embodiment of the city she represents and all its myriad vicissitudes. Hers is a character of incredible texture and spirit, possessing a firebrand magnetism that at once holds the film’s dynamic tonalities together and constantly rewrites their interplay. Shifting rapturously between seamy social realism and stylized grand opera, Pasolini bravely allows her and his other characters to be just as corrupt, unmanageable, and heedlessly destructive as the world that made them. Cerebral and subversive in subtle but remarkable ways, Mamma Roma looks at society’s ills not just as products of some higher authority’s misdeeds, but of the mishandled responsibilities of us all.

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