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My Mother's Smile (2002)

L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) (original title)
A celebrated painter receives a visit from a cardinal's assistant, who informs him that his mother could become a saint.


Marco Bellocchio

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20 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sergio Castellitto ... Ernesto Picciafuocco
Jacqueline Lustig Jacqueline Lustig ... Irene Picciafuocco
Chiara Conti Chiara Conti ... Diana Sereni
Gigio Alberti Gigio Alberti ... Ettore Picciafuocco
Alberto Mondini Alberto Mondini ... Leonardo Picciafuocco
Gianfelice Imparato ... Erminio Picciafuocco
Gianni Schicchi Gianni Schicchi ... Filippo Argenti (as Gianni Schicchi Gabrieli)
Maurizio Donadoni Maurizio Donadoni ... Cardinal Piumini
Donato Placido Donato Placido ... Egidio Picciafuocco
Renzo Rossi Renzo Rossi ... Baldracchi
Pietro De Silva Pietro De Silva ... Curzio Sandali
Bruno Cariello ... Don Pugni
Piera Degli Esposti ... Aunt Maria
Toni Bertorelli Toni Bertorelli ... Count Ludovico Bulla
Maria Luisa Bellocchio Maria Luisa Bellocchio ... Zia Ernesto


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

19 April 2002 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

My Mother's Smile See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,167, 13 February 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$40,246, 11 September 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmalbatros,Rai Cinema,Tele+ See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#06) See more »


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 »


Featured in Voi siete qui (2011) See more »


Psalm 23
(de Exil, per soprano, strumenti e nastro magnetico) (1994)
Music by Giya Kancheli
Soprano: Maacha Deubner
Flauto: Natalia Pschenitschnikova
Violino: Catrin Demenga
Viola: Ruth Killius
Violoncello: Rebecca Firth
Contrabasso: Christian Sutter
Conducted by Vladimir Jurowski (as Wladimir Jurowski)
© C.F. Peters Musikverlag
Per gentile concessione ECM New Series
ECM Records, 1995
See more »

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User Reviews

In the name of the mother
25 February 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Marco Bellocchio is a voice in the Italian cinema that has been present for about four decades now; he is still going strong. Like a good wine, Mr. Bellocchio gets better with the passage of time. His latest film to get a commercial run is "Ora di religione". This is a complex movie worth taking a look at it, as it presents us a different input on how the director, who also wrote the screen play, views religion, and the Catholic Church in general.

Italy is a supposedly Catholic country. Like the rest of Europe, Italy is going through a change in the way the Catholic Church exerts its influences in everything. More and more, people are asking about what they were taught as children and the realities of modern life where science explains mysteries that were not questioned before.

If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you should stop reading here.

Mr. Bellocchio decides to take a look at the issue of sainthood and its ramifications, as it affects a bourgeois family in turmoil. The Picciafuoccos come from a family of five sons. Egido, has killed his mother, who is being considered for canonization because someone claims he has been cured of a horrible fatal disease by praying to the matriarch of the family.

At the center of the story we find Ernesto, the artist son. He becomes concerned when Irene, his estranged wife, tells him about a change in their young son, Leonardo. This boy has become obsessed with the dogma being taught to him in his school. In his young mind, Leonardo can't differentiate between reality and what he has learned. Thus, he feels about talking to God, because he's everywhere.

Ernesto learns about the possibility of his mother being declared a saint by a cardinal who wants to interview the family and clarify an aspect of her death. The machinery has been set in motion. Ernesto realizes with horror how the family is affected by the news. Ernesto gets to realize what each brother, as well as his aunts, stand to benefit when his late mother be declared officially a saint. The wheels of commercialism have been set in motion and they will not stop the personal ambitions from each one in the family.

In Sergio Castellitto, the director has found the perfect actor to play Ernesto. Mr. Castellitto has demonstrated he is one of the best actors of the moment, as well as an excellent director. He gives an amazing performance as Ernesto, the son that questions his family's motives as well as what he sees in that society.

The ensemble cast is wonderful. The film is dark. It kept reminding this viewer of some of the best films of the Italian classic cinema without imitating any style at all. Mr. Bellocchio is an original who has his own voice. He questions a lot of things that most of us have taken for granted, but are unresolved in the prodigious mind of Marco Bellocchio.

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