My Mother's Smile

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My Mother's Smile
My Mother's Smile FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Marco Bellocchio
Written by Marco Bellocchio
Starring Sergio Castellitto
Jacqueline Lustig
Chiara Conti
Piera Degli Esposti
Gigio Alberti
Music by Riccardo Giagni
Cinematography Pasquale Mari
Edited by Francesca Calvelli
Release date
  • 19 April 2002 (2002-04-19)
Running time
103 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

My Mother's Smile is a 2002 Italian film directed by Marco Bellocchio. The original Italian title is L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) ("The Hour of Religion (My Mother's Smile)").


The film tells the story of a man whose "martyred" mother is in the process of canonization. She had been killed by her insane son, Egidio, while she slept. However, since this death would not count as "martyrdom", and would not qualify her for sainthood, the family is claiming she had been awake, begging her son to stop blaspheming, and that she had forgiven him before she died. The story is told from the perspective of her son Ernesto, a well-known painter and an atheist. The film portrays a colorful fresco so hypocritical to Catholicism today, showing how hard it still creeps into our lives, even against our will (as the protagonist shows). He often remembers for the delivery of a blasphemy explicit narrative tension at maximum (for this reason in Italy it was rated not suitable for kids who are less than 14 years old).


Ernesto Picciafuoco, painter and illustrator of children's tales, is a part of a very important but impoverished family, which wants to regain its stature by having a member canonized. ns. The late mother of the protagonist seems to be the only true religious person in the weak and stupid family. Two of the young rebels are now in the 40s and are completely detached from the hypocrisy of religion. One of them pretends to be very religious, to get back his job. The other, the protagonist, is uncertain, beset by moral doubts, mainly because of his young son who could learn the hypocrisy from him. The film is a journey through the absurd and surreal episodes. Ernesto, the protagonist, is contacted by a mysterious cardinal who wants to question him about the process of sanctification of the mother, about which he knew nothing until then. Then the child goes to school for the hearings with teachers, where he meets a young and charming, "religious teacher", to whom he is attracted, but that will be an impossibility. He has a discussion with a religious man appointed to investigate circumstances of "martyrdom", which asks account the non-baptism of his son, showing that he is well informed about him and trying to know why Ernest had "lost faith" . Ernesto is then challenged to a duel, for petty reasons, from a noble dream of an improbable restoration of the monarchy, but the duel is interrupted after a few seconds. He talks with his aunt, who has never shown much faith, but now, attracted by possible financial gain and popularity that the family would derive from sanctification, for a purely opportunistic attempt to bring her nephew on the "right path". Meanwhile, the wife of Ernesto administers a sort of baptism to the child sleeping, anxious to repair the previous "no".




  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: My Mother's Smile". Retrieved 2009-10-25. 

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