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MY MOTHER'S SMILE
(L'ORA DI RELUGIONE)
"Directed with a masterly, almost perverse bravura that even the Vatican might appreciate" -New York Times
"Uncannily beautiful and deeply humanist" -Village Voice
"Creepy and philosophical in all the right ways" -Time Out Chicago
Recommended! "In his best film in years, Marco Bellocchio crafts a stringently moral tale that carries a hint of horror" -Chicago Reader
"A heartfelt provocation" -The Onion
½ "Bellocchio elegantly but edgily fuses a provocative political subject with classically stylish handling" -Chicago Tribune
Ernesto (Sergio Castellitto), a painter and avowed atheist, receives a surprise visit from a clerical emissary who reveals that his mother might be canonized by the Vatican and that he has been summoned to testify as to her worthiness for beatification. Ernesto hated his mother, a stern and unaffectionate woman who was murdered by her insane son (Donato Placido). As it turns out, his family and friends has been lobbying for three years for their mother's sainthood, mainly because having a saint for a mother would raise their family's social standing. With the news of the potential beatification, Ernesto must confront his own feelings toward his mother and the religion he has so thoroughly rejected. Veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio's new melodrama confronts and challenges church dogma, while also exploring how everyday Italian life is shaped by two powerful cultural entities: the Church and the family. Castellitto gives a terrific performance as the tortured Ernesto and My Mother's Smile is almost as fearless as its protagonist in taking on the surreal netherworld of decadent priests and cunning politicians.
Directed by Marco Bellochio, Italy, 2002, 35mm, 102 mins. In Italian with English subtitles.