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Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini • 1962 • Italy
Anna Magnani is Mamma Roma, a middle-aged prostitute who attempts to extricate herself from her sordid past for the sake of her son. Filmed in the great tradition of Italian neorealism, MAMMA ROMA offers an unflinching look at the struggle for survival in postwar Italy, and highlights director Pier Paolo Pasolini's lifelong fascination with the marginalized and dispossessed. Though banned upon its release in Italy for obscenity, today MAMMA ROMA remains a classic, featuring a powerhouse performance by one of cinema's greatest actresses and offering a glimpse at a country's most controversial director in the process of finding his style.