The legendary Pier Paolo Pasolini was an essayist, poet, political activist, and a film maker who made Mamma Roma in the 60s as Anna Magnani requested to make a film with him. The result of the collaboration between the two left the world with a marvelous cinematic experience. However, Mamma Roma was condemned after its release as it was deemed immoral. Mamma Roma is not Pasolini's most famous film, but it is an essential piece of cinematic history as it tackles many different issues such as the catholic church, prostitution, and parenting.
The tale begins with Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani) who has recently gotten rid of her pimp boyfriend as he has married another woman. Delighted Mamma Roma seeks out her 16-year-old son Ettore whom she has not seen since infancy as she struggles with her guilt of deserting Ettore when he was a baby. She is also ashamed of her past as a prostitute and wants to start over as a fruit vendor and be the mother she never was for Ettore. However, Mamma Roma has no skills in raising a child and is even less equipped to handle a teenager that has been neglected since childhood. This is in the backdrop of Mamma Roma's old boyfriend threatening to unveil her secret to her son, and her political thoughts of injustices in the 60s Italy.
Mamma Roma is an exploration of the symbiosis that exists between mother and son, but Pasolini removes this connection between the Mamma Roma and Ettore as she abandoned Ettore at infancy. The abandonment leaves the audience with the gap between Mamma Roma and Ettore. This gap is closely examined as Mamma Roma and Ettore initially reunite in order to later drift apart due to years of missing parental guidance. Pasolini personifies neglect and poor parental guidance through Anna Magnani, Mamma Roma, who is frenetically trying to be a good mother. Mamma Roma's parental attempts bring an understanding of the symbiosis that connects a mother and her son through parental care, yet her love for Ettore is not enough as her words do not mean anything to Ettore.