Mamma Roma tells the story of a middle-aged Roman prostitute (Anna Magnani), eager to leave her lifestyle behind after her pimp marries a country girl. As Mamma Roma is released from prostitution, she reunites with her son, Ettore, who was raised in the country during her absence. Despite her best efforts to create a respectable lifestyle for her son, Ettore joins a gang and falls in love with a tramp. Mamma Roma’s pimp reemerges onto the scene, causing a final downfall of the relationship between a mother anxious to hide her past and a son unable to deal with the truth.
(1962-1963, 35 min.)
In this short film, later incorporated into an episodic film directed by Robert Rossellini, Jean-Luc Godard, and Ugo Gregoretti, Orson Welles plays the cynical, nameless director of a film interpretation of the Passion of the Christ. He is joined by Stracci, a subproletariat who is torn between providing for his family and satisfying his own gluttony. Stracci’s role as the good thief allows him insight into the world of the ruling class, but eventually causes his downfall.