A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state.
A girl and her art professor get trapped inside a castle-museum after it closes at night. After a little resistance she agrees to have sex with him, but then she sues the professor for rape... See full summary »
The film, a nostalgic fantasy documentary, depicts in six episodes a family story in Bobbio between 1999 and 2008. We discover the 5 years-old Elena being brought up by her aunts (Marco ... See full summary »
Pier Giorgio Bellocchio,
A populist right-wing tabloid newspaper tries to derail the official police investigation of a brutal murder of a young girl in order to help the fascist and right-wing candidates it supports in the upcoming elections.
Gian Maria Volontè,
Burned-out, over-the-hill actor Giovanni returns to Bologna for the funeral of his twin, Pippo, a wealthy suicide unlucky in love. The family tells Pippo's mother it was an accident, but ... See full summary »
Mauro, a judge, is worried about his older sister Marta, who took care of him since he was a boy, and is now affected by psychic problems and suicide fantasies. She seems to recover from ... See full summary »
The freshly graduated psychiatrist David shall deliver an opinion about young Maddalena, who's on trial for murdering a hunter. She claims she's a witch and acted on behalf of the devil. ... See full summary »
Rome, early 20th century: a wealthy psychiatrist, who runs an asylum for women and lacks imagination in his practice, must find a wet nurse for his infant when his wife panics after ... See full summary »
Ernesto is a successful artist who has his life turned upside down by his family's wishes for the canonization of his murdered mother. His extreme dislike for her ignorant ways brings about a greater connection with his insane brother who killed her, while his other brothers favor her beatification. There is a struggle of wills and will power. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
"My Mother's Smile (L'Ora di religione: Il sorriso di mia madre)" is a rollicking take on Catholicism that's very like how "I Heart Huckabees" treated existentialism, but with even more Tom Robbins-like absurdist humor.
Almost Kafka-like, with a touch of Woody Allen, the central character is the straight man in the joke, particularly with Sergio Castellitto's hang dog look (he was the Italian lover in "Mostly Martha") as he wakes up one morning to discover that his mother is about to be declared a saint.
We see the impact of this hypocritical quest on his ex-wife, brothers, old friends, aunts, priests and other people he has to come in contact with over two days, as everyone has selfish reasons for promoting sainthood. The potential canonization also becomes a vehicle to examine violence, sin, madness, ambition, love, parent/child relationships, philosophy, and art, as the central figure is an artist and the titular expression is captured in a Mona Lisa-like portrait.
The satire goes a bit overboard, though, when the son is challenged to a duel at dawn, though I think there was some point about the pointlessness of archaic societal rules. Small characters are weighted with too many meanings, like a crazy architect seeking to blow up a national monument that figures in a souvenir photograph, a witness whose name is a pseudonym from Dante, a mysterious, beautiful religion teacher, and more symbolism that went by, particularly as this is one of those typical Italian movies where the subtitles seem abridgments of the conversations.
In a lovely twist on the pieta, the most moving scenes are the paternal ones between father and son.
The soundtrack includes beautiful contemporary classical religious music including Adams and Tavener.
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