Film still of the film L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre), directed by Marco Bellocchio, Visions du Réel 2021

L'ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre)

My Mother's Smile

Marco Bellocchio
Italy | 2002 | 105 min
Language : Italian
Subtitles : French, English

“If God is everywhere, how can we be free?” Ernesto, a fervent atheist, is invited to reconsider his position when a Church dignitary tells him that his family is attempting to get his late mother—whom he hated—canonised. Through the use of fiction, L’ora di religione is an exploration of the archaisms of contemporary Italy and a vow of sedition against its moral conformism.

“If God is everywhere, how can we be free?” Painter Ernesto, a fervent atheist, is invited to reconsider his position on the day a Church dignitary approaches him and tells him that his family is attempting to get his late mother - whom he hated - canonised. L’ora di religione is a descent into the archaisms of Berlusconi’s Italy: the business of sanctification, moral conformism, honour duels. Taking a vow of sedition against widespread hypocrisy, Ernesto is a rare iteration in the work of Bellocchio: a character whose acts and deeds are in harmony. As if to accompany this value into its narrative structure, the film debunks episcopal cynicism at the same time as it restores faith’s childlike beauty. The restraint of its author’s mise en scène deals underlines a cascade of strangeness, which gradually unveils the agenda contained in this prettiest of titles: a smile as only legacy, or the transmission of grace.

Pierre Guidez

Editing
Francesca Calvelli
Production
Sergio PeloneMarco Bellocchio

Guest of Honour Marco Bellocchio

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