https://www.dantemass.org/event-details/pier-paolo-pasolini-film-festival Dante Alighieri Society of MA
41 Hampshire St
Cambridge, MA 02139
The Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts Presents “Mamma Roma,” a film by Pier Paolo Pasolini (in Italian with English subtitles). “Mamma Roma” is Pier Paolo Pasolini’s second film and was released in 1962. The screenplay was written by Pasolini with additional dialogue by well-known screenwriter, Sergio Citti and takes place in Rome. Later that very year, in the summer of 1962, a legal complaint was filed with the local authorities, claiming that the film was “offensive to good morals" and "contrary to the common sense of morality because of obscene content and contrary to public decency".
The complaint was dismissed by a local magistrate a few days later, however, Pasolini was attacked by Fascists at the film’s premiere on September 22nd, 1962 in front of the Cinema Quattro Fontane in Rome.
“Mamma Roma” takes place during turbulent postwar Italy and is the story of Mamma Roma, interpreted by Anna Magnani, a former middle-aged prostitute who desperately attempts to escape her sordid past and create a better life for her 16 year old son, Ettore. Mamma Roma constantly struggles to properly raise her son and build a new life together, however, after he discovers his mother’s past, Ettore gives in to his darker side by committing a series of petty crimes and eventually is imprisoned.
The film is a prime example of the great cinematic tradition of Italian Neorealism and underscores Pier Paolo Pasolini’s lifelong obsession with those who are marginalized and disenfranchised. To this very day, “Mamma Roma” remains one of Italy’s most classic films with a brilliant performance by Anna Magnani, one of cinema’s greatest actresses. More importantly, the Mamma Roma offers insight into the artistic development of one of Italy’s most controversial directors and 20th century intellectuals.
About Professor Sergio Parussa
Sergio Parussa was born in Turin, currently lives in Boston, and is Professor of Italian language and literature in the Department of Italian Studies at Wellesley College, in Massachusetts.
He has published articles and essays on twentieth-century Italian culture including “Eros onnipotente: erotismo, letteratura e impegno nell’opera di Pier Paolo Pasolini e Jean Genet” (Turin, Tirrenia Stampatori, 2003) and “Writing as Freedom, Writing as Testimony: Four Italian Writers and Judaism” (Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press, 2008) – which, in 2009, was awarded the Edinburgh Gadda Prize.
Parussa’s most recent publications include several essays on Giorgio Bassani’s works, both prose and poetry, which are also the result of his archival research on the manuscript and typescript of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and other material preserved by the Giorgio Bassani Foundation.
In addition to his scholarly writing, he translated from Italian into English the novel, “L’orso Maggiore” by Ginevra Bompiani (The Great Bear, New York, Italica Press, 2000) and from English into Italian, the novella ‘Simonetta Perkins” by L.P. (Italian, Nottetempo 2008).