Pier Paolo Pasolini's masterpiece stars Anna Magnani as the fiery Mamma Roma, prostitute who attempts to better her life for the sake of her son, Ettore. But her efforts may be too late: Ettore is drawn to life on the street, and falls, ironically, for a younger prostitute.
An early Pasolini film that hints at the greatness to come
- Mamma Roma review by PR
This movie makes quite good use of the powerful talent of Anna Magnani, an actress who has tended to be shamefully overlooked in the English speaking world. The movie explores the attempts of a former prostitute to achieve a more secure bourgeois life for herself and her wayward son, efforts that we know from an early are going to be doomed. Unlike Pina in Rome in Rossellini's Rome Open City, Mamma Roma aspires to move upwards in the growing affluence of post-war Italy. But she is inextricably linked to the world of prostitutes and street walkers, themes that would continue to interest the Catholic Marxist Pasolini in later movies. Here though we have a rather early movie that is marred by rather uninspiring use of shot reverse shots that fails to employ to the full Magnani's immense acting talents. But some longer shots, especially of metaphorical Roman ruins, hint at neorealist influences on Pasolini that would be brought to the full later in the magnificent The Gospel According to St Matthew (1964), This is a key film for anyone interested in Pasolini, Magnani and post-war Italian cinema