All kinds of Italian movies celebrate motherhood, but wait, did I say “celebrate? Maybe that’s not the right word. Maybe movies about good, normal moms just aren’t that interesting.
Anyway, happy mother’s day! Watch an Italian movie with your mother on Sunday!
There is really no shortage of Bad Moms in Italian movies:
In ‘I Baci Mai Dati’ (Lost Kisses) when one of Manuela’s dreams helps the town restore a broken statue of the virgin mother, so many people start knocking on the family’s door looking for divine intervention from Manuela that Manuela’s mother, Rita (Donatella Finocchiaro) sees an opportunity to make money and posts the hours of operation on their front door.
In Paolo Virzì’s film La Prima Cosa Bella (The First Beautiful Thing) siblings Bruno and Valeria meet a brother that had been unknown to them and they invited him to come meet their mother. “She’s ruined my life’, said Bruno. “Maybe if you meet her she’ll ruin yours too.” Later, he and his mother are out together and she’s laughing and happy but he whispers, “Why am I so unhappy?’”
Quando La Notte (When The Night) isn’t really calling a mom with postpartum depression a BAD mom, but you can’t exactly call the one in this Cristina Comencini film a good mom. In any case, it was a BAD movie.
La Sconascitua (La Sconosciuta) is a thriller, and without giving away the plot, let’s just say this BAD mom hands down wins the prize for the BADDEST mom of all in this film from Giuseppe Tornatore.
Why are movies and TV shows so obsessed with Dead Moms? Why are there so many stories about widower dads? Is life secretly better without the mom? Who knows, but…
Caos Calmo (Quiet Chaos), from Nanni Moretti, is probably my favorite dead mother movie. It’s not about the dead mom or the smiling through the tears after her funeral. It’s a punch in the stomach. It’s about sorting out being awake and living in a nightmare, and it’s about figuring out how to function in the middle of the nightmare. The dad, played by Moretti goes to extreme lengths to make up for this dead mom.
In Silvio Soldini’s ‘Il Comandante E La Cicogna’ (Garibaldi’s Lovers) the dead mother (Claudia Gerini) is a ghost, and probably has more sense than anyone else in the movie.
And yet another dead mother is a spooky, sainted dead mom. In Marco Bellocchio’s ‘L’Ora di Religione’, Sergio Castellitto has a mom that is being considered for sainthood, bringing up all kind of unpleasant childhood issues. I mean, we love our moms; right? But saints? I wouldn’t go that far.
There’s a really great Fake Mom in Paolo Genovese’s ‘Una Famiglia Perfetta’, and again, it’s Claudia Gerini. This mom can literally be rented for the Christmas season.
Italian Movies could be a great source of clips for a Moms Gone Wild video.
In Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love), Tilda Swinton goes wild but who can blame her? Not even her family has seen that she wasn’t who she was pretending to be for all those years. When someone asks her about being Russian, it was as if no one had acknowledged it for a very long time. She told him that she had married, moved to Italy, and become Italian. Her name wasn’t even Emma, her husband had given her that name and when asked her about her real name, she said that she couldn’t even remember what it was.
And in Silvio Soldini’s ‘Pane E Tulipani (Bread and Tulips)’, Rosalba runs away from home, but it’s OK. Really OK. This comedy is actually pretty inspirational, encouraging us all to live us the life we were meant to live.
And for one truly Batshit Crazy Mom, try Marco Bellocchio’s ‘Vincere’. When two lovers will do anything, at any cost, to win, the woman’s son gets sent to an orphanage. He asks a nun when his mother will come to get him and she tells him, “after she gets better”. For Ida, (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), that doesn’t seem likely. The nun should have added, “But don’t hold your breath.”