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L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre)
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My Mother's Smile (2002) More at IMDbPro »L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) (original title)


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Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Marco Bellocchio (written by)
View company contact information for My Mother's Smile on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 April 2002 (Italy) See more »
A celebrated painter receives a visit from a cardinal's assistant, who informs him that his mother could become a saint. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
16 wins & 16 nominations See more »
(2 articles)
400 Screens, 400 Blows - Vincere
 (From Cinematical. 28 March 2010, 7:02 AM, PDT)

Almodovar Dominates European Film Awards
 (From WENN. 9 December 2002)

User Reviews:
Come back, Federico! See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order)

Sergio Castellitto ... Ernesto Picciafuocco
Jacqueline Lustig ... Irene Picciafuocco
Chiara Conti ... Diana Sereni
Gigio Alberti ... Ettore Picciafuocco
Alberto Mondini ... Leonardo Picciafuocco

Gianfelice Imparato ... Erminio Picciafuocco
Gianni Schicchi ... Filippo Argenti (as Gianni Schicchi Gabrieli)
Maurizio Donadoni ... Cardinal Piumini
Donato Placido ... Egidio Picciafuocco
Renzo Rossi ... Baldracchi
Pietro De Silva ... Curzio Sandali
Bruno Cariello ... Don Pugni

Piera Degli Esposti ... Aunt Maria
Toni Bertorelli ... Count Ludovico Bulla
Maria Luisa Bellocchio ... Zia Ernesto
Letizia Bellocchio ... Zia Ernesto
Giovanni Cappelli ... Autista
Ada Ferrata ... Madre Ernesto
Lino Bonanni ... Eugenio
Hubert Grieco ... Gaspare
Amerigo Alberani ... Oppositore Bulla
Mariam Guled Giama ... Cameriera Irene
Valentina Karakhanian ... Cantante lirica
Giorgio Cantelli ... Arbitro duello
Renata Moro ... Segretaria zia Maria
Stefano D'Amadio ... Fotografo set
Giuseppe Eusepi ... Il Cristo
Elena Bellocchio ... Prima bambina
Chiara Natoli ... Seconda bambina
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marco Bellocchio
Fabrizio Giannini

Directed by
Marco Bellocchio 
Writing credits
Marco Bellocchio (written by)

Produced by
Marco Bellocchio .... producer
Sergio Pelone .... producer
Original Music by
Riccardo Giagni 
Cinematography by
Pasquale Mari 
Film Editing by
Francesca Calvelli 
Casting by
Beatrice Kruger  (as Béatrice Kruger)
Production Design by
Marco Dentici 
Set Decoration by
Paola Riviello 
Costume Design by
Sergio Ballo 
Makeup Department
Rosalba Cimino .... additional makeup artist
Sabrina Romanelli .... hair stylist
Production Management
Sandra Bonacchi .... production supervisor
Gianluca Chiaretti .... production manager (as Gian Luca Chiaretti)
Luigi Lagrasta .... general organizer
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Daniela Ceselli .... assistant director
Giuseppe Eusepi .... assistant director
Art Department
Marco Bellocchio .... paintings
Daria Calvelli .... paintings
Gian Maria Cau .... assistant art director
Briseide Siciliano .... assistant art director
Sound Department
Maurizio Argentieri .... sound
Gianluca Basili .... sound effects editor
Sergio Basili .... foley artist
Filippo Bussi .... sound consultant: dts
Emanuela Di Giunta .... sound editor
Vincenzo Nardi .... boom operator
Angelo Raguseo .... sound re-recording mixer
Special Effects by
Franco Galiano .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
Gianluca Dentici .... visual effects artist
Camera and Electrical Department
Francesco Cavazza .... first loader
Giancarlo Checchi .... electrician
Duccio Cimatti .... Steadicam operator (as Guido Cimatti)
Stefano D'Amadio .... still photographer
Mercedes Porter Hope .... assistant camera
Riccardo Ricci .... grip
Daniele Rucci .... grip
Casting Department
Cristina Raffaeli .... casting assistant
Editorial Department
Pasquale Cuzzupoli .... color supervisor
Gian Luca Guerra .... post-production coordinator
Music Department
Riccardo Giagni .... music consultant
Other crew
Caterina Barlucchi .... additional script supervisor
Iole Natoli .... script supervisor
Roberto Ornaro .... production accountant
Lucille Cristaldi .... additional thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre)" - Italy (original title)
See more »
105 min | France:102 min (Cannes Film Festival)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Director Cameo: [Marco Bellocchio]Man with Count Bulla at the party.See more »
Miscellaneous: When Ernesto looked up his family on the computer Egidio's birth year was listed as 1950. Seconds later when he looks again, it is listed as 1951.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Good Morning, Night (2003)See more »
Che cossè l'amorSee more »


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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Come back, Federico!, 4 June 2002
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

Marco Bellocchio's new movie, `L'ora di religione,' has one of the more peculiar premises in cinematic history: an artist and illustrator (I'm afraid he's a movie artist, whose work and life are rather vaguely and glamorously sketched in) learns that his recently deceased mother, whom he thought a bore and a fool, has been proposed by the rest of his family for sainthood, and has a good chance of getting it, and the Vatican wants to ask him a few questions about her death. The artist is stupefied and so are we. Whether we are fascinated and intrigued is another question. The other family members behind the canonization project have enough pretension and influence to want more of what they've already got, and the idea is that the secondhand publicity they'll receive through having a beatified mom will add to their social, political, and financial success. Ernesto Picciafuoco, the artist, is not only appalled by this new development, but also troubled by the simultaneous discovery of his own young son's apparent burgeoning religiosity. What follows is a meandering investigation of the two situations. Ernesto (Sergio Castellitto) looks a little like Dustin Hoffman but with more `there' there. He has to have presence and intelligence to be at the center of an examination of religion that is as complicated, quirky, and provocative as the one that occupies `L'ora di religione.' Castellitto's naturalness and humanity do a lot to make the risk of such a weird premise pay off. His scenes with Gigio Alberti as Ettore, his little son, are absolutely charming and young Alberti is wonderfully spontaneous and real.

If only the other family relationships were as natural and made as much sense. For me the movie fails to come together, partly, I admit, because the Catholic church has never been a big concern of mine, and partly because of flaws in the screenplay and the style that make the story even harder to follow than it would be anyway. Every role other than Ernesto's and Ettore's is more or less a cameo. There are complicated theological disputes that are suddenly broken off by surreal fantasies. (Bellocchio wavors back and forth between satirical realism and obscurantist hyperrealism, and the combination doesn't work well here.) There is the too-perfect and too-beautiful Diana Sereni (Chiara Conti), the teacher of Ettore's `ora di religione' (religion class), who has apparently inspired Ettore's precocious religious crisis and whom Ernesto promptly falls in love with at their first meeting. Instead of a dubious influence as seemed at first, she eventually appears to be a better candidate for sainthood than mom, just on the basis of the magical glow around her face when she's onscreen. Ernesto, with Castellitto's able assistance, despite the odd premise and the shaky plot development, continues to retain some degree of three-dimensionality throughout, but the others tend to the stereotypical. The artist's estranged wife pops up every so often only to help Ernesto take young Ettore to school, a scene that recurs with tiresome repetitiveness.

The Vatican `investigation' that draws in Ernesto aims to discover whether a brother, currently incarcerated, murdered their mother in her sleep, or, as a new rumor has it, whether the mother was awake and forgave her son for doing her in. A favorable answer to this question might tip the scale for mom from the merely super-nice into the saintly category, or from the saintly into the canonizable. Unfortunately this whole issue also strained my credulity far beyond its capacity. Ernesto's bizarre interview on this topic with a Cardinal, Don Piumini (Maurizio Donadoni) in what appears to be a Vatican dining hall for poor and disabled people, is memorable if only for Piumini's stylized manner and strong presence. (One concrete thing I learned from this movie is that Italian Catholic clerics wear the latest chic eyeglasses.)

Equally bizarre is a gathering of rightwing ideologues led by a certain Count Bulla, who challenges Ernesto to a duel. What century are we in? Bellocchio's movie is outrageously personal. In America we'd call it self-indulgent; but he's Italian and this movie is serious and intellectual enough to have been the only Italian entry at Cannes. There is a waste of skill and talent here. This is a gifted filmmaker, and these are excellent actors, and this is material of potentially enormous importance to the audience (if not to me). For some it will all work. It will seem tremendously original and thought provoking. For others it will be cause for head shaking and rueful remarks about what ever happened to the great Italian cinema of those wonderful twenty years of cultural flowering in Italy after the end of World War II. Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini, Visconti, Antonioni: where are you now when we need you?

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