Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Pier Paolo Pasolini: 'Mamma Roma' (1962)

Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma (1962) stars the fabulous Anna Magnani (1908-1973) in the titular role as she transitions from the oldest profession into selling produce at market while raising a teenage son. However, this is mostly thankless, because the demand for sex is higher than the demand for vegetables. It doesn't help that her former pimp comes to town and demands she raise cash for him, simply because he's bored living among country "hicks" and doesn't want to work. 
Ettore (Ettore Garofolo, 1946-1999), Mamma Roma's son -- who resembles American actor Michael Shannon -- runs around with a handful of miscreants who may remind those in the know of the bad kids in Lord of the Flies. Pasolini has a field day filming them among ancient Roman ruins -- pictured here through a filter. The original is all in black and white.  
The female equivalent of the male hooligans, but not as bad. 

Ettore takes a shine to Bruna (Silvana Corsini, born 1921), who is, perhaps, slightly touched in the head. 
Mamma Roma: "Look at these figs! I've got the best ones!"  

As with Pasolini's Accatone of the previous year, Mamma Roma is mostly concerned with the down and out and the struggling. It, too, has occasional surrealistic touches (such as Mamma Roma on the job at night, walking through a park with lights like stars behind her, rotating men like musical chairs walking and talking with her -- very effective), Catholic iconography and Marxian pithiness. Not a Hollywood ending.

Today's Rune: Possessions. 

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