At the wedding of her pimp, Carmine (Franco Citti), ‘Mamma Ro’ (Anna Magnani) announces her retirement from prostitution. She first returns to her poverty-stricken native village to reclaim her estranged son Ettore (Ettore Garofalo) and then moves into a newly constructed apartment complex in Rome. Mamma’s tragicomic attempts to create a new life for herself meet with a variety of obstacles: her struggle to pay her bills, the return of Carmine into her life, Ettore’s listlessness and his friendship with lowlifes and vagabonds. Set among Rome’s borgate, a counter-culture of Rome’s lower depths, Mamma Roma depicts the social impact of emerging middle-class values in its ironic story of a mother’s love for her child.
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s iconoclastic vision renders the world of the borgate - a world of criminals, prostitutes and pimps - with the sacred elegance of religious paintings by Renaissance masters. This seeming lack of judgment towards society’s reprobates made his work deeply controversial. Equally subversive is the casting of Oscar winning actress Anna Magnani. An Italian national treasure, her brilliant performance endows her character with the mythic dimension inherent in the name Mamma Roma.
- Venice Film Festival (1962), Nominated, Golden Lion, Pier Paolo Pasolini
1962 / 102 minutes / Italian with English subtitles / Mono audio / 1.33 : 1 Black & White / DVD PAL Multi Region / Rating 15 / MRBDVD038