Mamma Roma

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Mamma Roma (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1962)

While Fellini dealt with the surreal, Antonioni dealt with the sensory and the image, and DiSica dealt with plot and story, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s main focus during the neorealist movement of Italian cinema was humanity and characterization. One of his greatest films, Mama Roma, is a collection of feelings and hopes and dreams. A woman, formerly a prostitute, watches her ex-lover (also her pimp), get married to a new broad. She uses this opportunity as a way to get her and her son’s lives back on track… but day after day, she is harassed to relive and revel in the dark life she once had. Pasolini’s characters are the plot themselves, they create their own situations and their own decisions. It is the prototypical example of the character driven movie, but even more than just surface level action, it is the nature of the human which drives these decisions. The hard choice between doing shameful things for easy money, or leading a life-long struggle to keep your moral values in tact. Mamma Roma is a difficult film, for the reason that it’s so personal and it confronts us with problems that we are eager to try and avoid or look away from, but must at one point in our lives take on.

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