Madame Rosa (1977)
"La vie devant soi" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  19 March 1978 (USA)
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Madame Rosa lives in a sixth-floor walkup in the Pigalle; she's a retired prostitute, Jewish and an Auschwitz survivor, a foster mom to children of other prostitutes. Momo is the oldest and... See full summary »



(novel) (as Emile Ajar) , (adaptation)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michal Bat-Adam ...
Samy Ben-Youb ...
Gabriel Jabbour ...
M. Hamil
Geneviève Fontanel ...
Bernard La Jarrige ...
Louis Charmette - un retraité SNCF (as Bernard Lajarrige)
Mohamed Zinet ...
Kadir Youssef
Elio Bencoil ...
Stella Annicette ...
Madame Lola
El Kebir ...
Ibrahim Seck ...
N'Da Ameder
Math Samba ...
Claude Dauphin ...
Docteur Katz
Théo Légitimus ...
M. Boro
Nadia Samir


Madame Rosa lives in a sixth-floor walkup in the Pigalle; she's a retired prostitute, Jewish and an Auschwitz survivor, a foster mom to children of other prostitutes. Momo is the oldest and her favorite, an Algerian lad whom she raises as a Muslim. He asks about his parents; she answers evasively. As she ages and takes fewer children, Momo must do more for her; as money is tight, he tries to earn pennies on the street with a puppet. He's a beautiful man-child, and Madame Rosa makes him promise never to sell himself or become a pimp. A film editor, Nadine, befriends him, and his father appears as well. Madame Rosa reaches her last days in fear of hospitals, and Momo must act. Written by <>

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Release Date:

19 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Madame Rosa  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #14.4 (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Unique, unforgettable piece of art
14 March 2013 | by (Bucharest, Romania) – See all my reviews

This is a very delicate and nostalgic movie and at the same time quite realistic and tough, about the special relationship, full of affection and tenderness, between an old prostitute and a kid she's been raising, among others that she has been responsible for. A kind of paid social service. When she is urged to go to the hospital because of her disease, she decides she's offered too long her body to customers, and will not do the same with doctors. Just recently we have seen how many prizes another impressive movie speaking about euthanasia-„amour"- achieved. Well, 35 years before, there was this french film about human dignity and love. A kid has the whole life ahead, while the other's just about to end- it's precisely the moment for important life lessons to be passed on, like the ironical one of never give up one's dignity. But it's not all sad, there is an extremely funny scene when his father comes to meet the boy, that highlights how absurd religious differences can be. A heartbreaking impressive ending, wonderful interpretations, famous cinematographer Néstor Almendros or composer Philippe Sarde involved in accomplishing an unforgettable piece of art- these all should be enough to guarantee „la vie devant soi" , the whole life ahead to this movie.

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