18 user 23 critic

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
20 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »




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 ... 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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Did You Know?


Marco Bellocchio: Man with Count Bulla at the party. 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 »


Musica Celestis
(per orchestra d'archi) (1991)
Music by Aaron Jay Kernis
Performed by Minnesota Orchestra
Conducted by Eiji Oue
Edizione A.M.P. su licenza BMG Ricordi (Casa Ricordi)
gentile concessione EMI RECORDS Ltd / VIRGIN CLASSICS
EMI Records Ltd / Virgin Classics, 2001
See more »

User Reviews

An often fascinating and disturbing, occasionally arch and over the top, look at faith
5 January 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

A divorced atheist painter, removed from his family, comes to find out they are quietly plotting with the Church to have his mother canonized as a saint – mostly for personal gain and prestige - even though there's great question as to how much the 'official' version of his mother's life has been distorted and re-invented to help the cause.

There's something chilling, in a moody, David Lynch, Nic Roeg sort of way about the handling of this nightmare scenario (the director calls it 'a very strange thriller'), where a man is pressured to accept his clearly flawed, cold, and distant mother as a saint 'for the good of the family'.

But along with it's skewering of people using religion to very non-religious ends, there's also the pain and confusion of a man without faith grasping to make sense of life, parenthood, and love.

There are some plot lines that lead nowhere, just leading to more questions. Some of it gets a little Gothic, to the edge of silly, but the performances, music and camera-work keep pulling you back in, and haunting moments have stayed with me.

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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

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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