Having renounced her ignominious past, a former streetwalker reunites with her son. However, an extortion scheme endangers her aspirations for a decent bourgeois life. Can she protect him from the same snares that wounded her youth?
With a fervent yearning for respectability and enough money to buy herself a brand-new life in Rome, the uninhibited, fearless, and determined former streetwalker, Mamma Roma, renounces her ignominious past to reunite with her loafing sixteen-year-old son, Ettore. Free at last from her disgusting pimp and ex-lover, Carmine, Roma is bent on making an honest living running a humble vegetable stall; however, a malicious extortion scheme and the equally insidious menace of exposure threaten to put an end to her zealous aspirations for a decent bourgeois existence. For his own sake, Ettore must be spared the violence of the grown-up world; nevertheless, can a single mother alone protect her only son from the same snares that wounded her youth?Written by
At the films premiere in the Quattro Fontane Cinema (Rome, 22nd September 1962), Mr. Pier Paolo Pasolini was attacked by fascists who protested against the film. See more »
In the opening titles, the music that is playing over the titles is noted as "Concerto in Do maggiore di Vivaldi," which translates in English as "Concerto in C major by Vivaldi." The music actually playing is the Largo (slow) movement from Vivaldi's Concerto in D minor (catalog number RV 540) See more »
There was a neighbor of ours, a rich old man with loads of money. He dressed like Robespierre. He had a mustache and cane, like he was a king. You know how he made his money? Under fascism. Mussolini told him, "Build a district for the working class."
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Just wanted to point out that in the final scenes, Pasolini shows Ettore in jail (for stealing), strapped to a table, and it's very much like Andrea Mantegna's painting, "The Dead Christ." This might say a lot about what Pasolini thought about Christ's crucifixion, and how we might view Mamma Roma the whore and her son Ettore (perhaps not as mother and son, but as Mary Magdalene and Christ?). This final scene also makes one recall how the opening scene, the marriage of Carmine (the pimp) and his bride, looks so much like DaVinci's painting, "The Last Supper"... and so the film opens with a visual reference to Christ the pimp before he dies, and ends with one of Christ the thief after he dies.
So many things about this film have elements of the story of Christ, only they're turned on their head. Ettore's relationship with the loose woman Bruna, his familiar dealing with moneylenders, his lazy and thieving followers, his lack of a trade, his stealing -- it's as if he's the opposite of Christ. And yet Ettore is blessed: he's rooted in nature (he grew up on a farm, he recognizes birds by their songs, acts spontaneously on his natural feelings of anger or lust) and he's set within a story that's essentially about the power of morality and redemption. Mamma Roma is a flawed woman but a good woman who's trying to do the right thing, to mend her ways. And Ettore is not so much an anti-Christ as he is a proto-Christ -- a pre-Christian figure. The film 'Mamma Roma' may have more to do with being a pagan story than a Christian one...
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