(aka 'The Religion Hour' or 'My Mother's Smile')

Directed by Marco Bellocchio
Italy 2002

 

  "A very odd thriller" is how Italian director Marco Bellocchio describes My Mother's Smile, his uncannily beautiful and deeply humanist exploration of the nightmares that resurface from a Roman atheist's Catholic childhood. The ever excellent Sergio Castellitto plays the unbeliever, Ernesto, a successful painter and children's book illustrator, separated from his wife (Jacqueline Lustig) but devoted to his young son. One afternoon, a messenger from the Vatican arrives at his studio in Rome and announces, to Ernesto's dismay, that the painter's late mother—whom he never particularly liked—is now a candidate for sainthood.

What follows has the overheated, dreamlike quality of someone's paranoid fantasy, as Ernesto attempts to navigate a maze of baroque familial and papal intrigues while uncomfortably revisiting the past, including his mother's murder at the hands of his mad, blaspheming brother (Donato Placido). Along the way, he's challenged to a duel by an imperious count (Toni Bertorelli) and helped—or led astray?—by a fetching young woman who claims to be his son's religion teacher (Chiara Conti).

Excerpt from Leslie Camhi's review at The Village Voice located HERE.

Gary W. Tooze

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Theatrical Release: May 16th, 2002 - Cannes Film Festival

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DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:40:30 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.97 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Audio Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: New Yorker Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• Interview with director Marco Bellocchio (8:09)
• Interview with actor Sergio Castellitto (9:22)
• A Conversation between Bellocchio and Castellitto (16:08)
• "A Day on the Set" featurette (3:33)
• Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

• 6-page liner notes with director interview

DVD Release Date: May 16th, 2006

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Chapters: 16

 

 

Comments:

A superlative DVD package from New Yorker, although, as typical for their production transfers of recent years, it is an unconverted PAL->NTSC port. It still looks quite detailed but it produces fine combing in horizontal pans. Colors are acceptable although there is a greenish haze that also tends to be a production association with NY'er's European films put to digital. With the bad out of the way the DVD has excellent optional English subtitles and is filled with extensive supplements in the form of interviews, a filmed conversation between director and star, a short featurette and liner notes.

With my initial exposure to Bellocchio in Criterion's recent Fists in the Pocket DVD, I was anxious to see My Mother's Smile and found it very enjoyable with a fascinating premise. I recommend!

Gary W. Tooze

 





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Distribution New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!