L'ora di religione
He learns from the mysterious Don Pugni, secretary to the equally enigmatic Cardinal Piumini, that they want to canonize his mother. Ernesto is struck by this news, not only because it makes him realize how much he has been kept in the dark where his family is concerned, but also because the whole business contrasts with his world as an artist and free atheist. In the space of a few hours, the pressure and the schemes to make him take part in the beatification process grow more intense. Conflicts come to the fore.
His memory of his mother (his mother's smile) opens up a gaping chasm that forces him to reconsider the past and live the present differently.
editing, music, in other words filmic language and style because the style
in this film is what comes "after", "after" an initial image, an initial idea that set the whole story in motion. This image is simple to describe (despite
what the main character refers to as its "absurdity"): an ordinary man, Ernesto Picciafuoco, a painter, receives a visit from a priest who tells him that the beatification process is under way for his mother...
He knows nothing about this and never had the slightest notion of it, even though the whole process was launched more than three years previously... The news overwhelms him.
In addition, this insensitivity, the fact that he didn't sense or perceive the conspiracy under way and the now open attempt to convert him, along
with the aggravating circumstance of his artistic career, cast Ernesto into a
deep depression... or, rather, arouse a latent form of depression... Ernesto can no longer stand himself, he can no longer bear the deep-seated
cynicism and lack of affection that make him resemble his mother, who died tragically many years before... and whose "mortal" smile he now carries, despite his fruitless attempts to wipe it off his face (for a long time, I wavered between the final title "The Time of Religion" and another title, precisely "My Mother's Smile"...)
This secular character, distanced from religion for so long, discovers that he isn't entirely separated from it... Because, the priests would reply, that's impossible.
I have a different view and, sympathizing with the character, in which I recognize a great deal of myself, follow with him the very long but not necessarily endless path of a permanent separation (from the comfort of the Holy Father, "who even so grants the just man, whether he believes or not, a place in paradise," a line that I had to cut from the film and that was pronounced by Cardinal Piumini in his conversation with Ernesto Picciafuoco in the pauper's hostel...).
This is the true suspense that runs throughout the whole film. In this way, "The Time or Religion" could also be defined as a very odd thriller.
His filmography includes:
1967 CHINA IS NEAR
1967 LOVE AND ANGER
1969 VIVA IL PRIMO MAGGIO ROSSO
1971 IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
1972 SBATTI IL MOSTRO IN PRIMA PAGINA
1974 MATTI DA SLEGARE" - FIT TO BE UNTIED, directed with Silvano Agosti, Sandro Petraglia & Stefano Rulli
1976 VICTORY MARCH
1977 THE SEAGULL
1980 VACANZE IN VAL TREBBIA
1980 LEAP INTO DIE VOID
1982 THE EYES, THE MOUTH
1984 HENRY IV
1986 DEVIL IN THE FLESH
1988 THE SABBATH
1990 THE CONDEMNATION
1994 THE BUTTERFLY'S DREAM
1996 THE PRINCE OF HOMBURG
1999 THE NANNY
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Marco Bellocchio
Written by: Marco Bellocchio
Produced by: Marco Bellocchio, Sergio Pelone
Cinematography: Pasquale Mari
Editing: Francesca Calvelli
Production Design: Marco Dentici
Costume Design: Sergio Ballo
Original Score: Riccardo Giagni
Main Cast: Sergio Castellitto (Ernesto), Jacqueline Lustig (Irene), Chiara Conti (Diana), Piera degli Esposti (Aunt Maria)
Nominations and Awards
- People's Choice Award 2002
- European Director 2002
- Feature Film Selection 2002