Articles header

TIFF Cinematheque Presents - Anna Magnani

26 Jan 2017



TIFF Cinematheque Presents - The Films of Anna Magnani

This series of Anna Magnani films, with quite a few not screened for a long time, runs from Jan 27th  right up to March 11th.  The Series is entitled:

Volcano: The Films of Anna Magnani

A deluxe tribute to "the She-Wolf of Italian cinema

For the complete list of Magnani films, the dates, venue and ticket pricing,please click on the link below:


Capsule Reviews of selected films follows:

(The Full Review for THE PASSIONATE THIEF is available in a separate post on this site).


BELLISSIMA (Italy 1951) ****

Directed by Luchino Visconti

BELLISSIMA is about a mother doing everything trying to get her daughter into show business.  Though set decades ago, the film is till relevant seeing how people these days do the same to audition for the realty shows.  The film works as a comedy that is even more hilarious and relevant thanks to the performance of Anna Magnani.  She plays a nurse making a living giving injections while giving her daughter the best audition dress, ballet lessons and acting lessons.  If she is not scramming away, she is praying or sucking unto her macho typcll

MAMMA ROMA (Italy 1962) ****

Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini

An ex-prostitute, Mamma Roma (Anna Magnani in her best role), tries to start a new life selling vegetables with her 16-year-old son Ettore (Ettore Garofolo). When he later finds out that she was a prostitute, he succumbs to the dark side ending with the petty theft of a radio in a hospital and goes to prison.  This is a tragic tale of mother and son, mother wanting too much for her son while he just wanting to be left to his own devices. Pasolini’s film contains lots of homoerotic images like Ettore’s friend wrestling him to the ground and Ettore being strapped down to his underwear in the hospital.  Pasolini also captures the period, classes atmosphere and hopeless of is tale with clarity and emotion.

Screening Jan 28h

Directed by Mario Monicelli


THE PASSIONATE THIEF (RISATE DI GIOIA) marks the collaboration between dramatic actress Anna Magnani and famed comedian Toto.  It is a perfect match as director Monicelli’s film is a perfect blend between drama and comedy.  The film follows two friends, Umberto and Gioia (Toto and Magnani) who live by their wits working as comedians and cabaret at Cinecittà (the famous cinema production studios centre in Rome), before being invited to friends' parties or masked balls during New Year's Eve in Rome.  The two, however, even though they make people laugh all the time in public, live an inner conflict, namely that the two have always to be aware to give a smile to someone, but they can never be rich and happy because they are street artists and with a precarious wage.  The meeting with another thief, the well-dressed Lello (Ben Gazzara who appears to speak perfect Italian) throws their relationship into peril.  The film is more drama than comedy.  The audience can clearly sympathize with both the characters of Umberto and Gioia as they both grab at straws to escape the drowning from poverty.  Gioia is hoping for love in the much younger Lello while Umberto finally goes clean in order to save Gioia from Lello.  THE PASSIONATE THEIF looks like a simple film on the surface, but is deep in mood, atmosphere, feeling and life under deeper scrutiny.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFwFYySSWS8

Screening Jan 29th

ROME OPEN CITY (Italy 1946) ***** Top 10

Directed by Roberto Rossellini


Rossellini’s ROME - OPEN CITY follows Italian resistance fighters and workers as they struggle through hardship and tyranny to etch out a barely decent daily living with their families while just putting enough food on the table. If not fighting the enemy, the Italians are humorously screaming among themselves. The film centres on expecting Pina (Anna Magnani), a widow with son, Marcello about to be married again. Rossellini captures the essence of war in the details and warmth of the characters. A fly can be seen on the priest’s cloak while dust is plentiful after the bombings. The priest is seen playing football with the school children, then passing messages to the underground and also giving confession to those requiring forgiveness. A very moving film made even more riveting with the famous segment of the pregnant Anna Magnani shot by the Germans as she runs from the three-tonner. This is a must-see, one of the best war films made during war time.

Screening Jan 27th


Directed by Stanley Kramer

I saw THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA, the Golden Globe Winner for Best Comedy when it first came out and loved it.  Watching it a second time as part of the retrospective of the Films of Anna Magnani (she has the supporting role of Bombolini’s wife, the feisty Rosa), I found the film still endearing  and beautiful, but mostly funny and one of the most enjoyable films I had seen in a long time.  The film stars the late Oscar Winner Anthony Quinn as Bombolini.   In the beginning there was Bombolini the fool, Bombolini the drunk, Bombolini the joke.  In the end there was Bombolini the mayor, Bombolini the hero, Bombolini the beautiful.  In between is the secret of Santa Vittoria.  Bombolini is a fairly worthless drunk in the small Italian town of Santa Vittoria in the closing days of World War II.  When word comes that the Fascist government has surrendered, he climbs a water tower to tear down the flag.  He can't get down and someone gets the crowd to chant his name to give him confidence. The Fascist town council hears this and believes that he is the town's new leader. They surrender to him and make him the new mayor. He rises to the occasion and when he finds that the Germans plan to occupy his town and take their wine (over a million bottles) he works out a plan to hide it.  That is THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA.  Quinn is nothing short of superb, matched only by Magnani, who should get star billing over Virna Lisi.  Quinn shows how a decent man can rise above his calling to show his character a real hero of the Italian people.  Hardy Kruger also gives a memorable performance as the German captain who occupies the town.  A must-see if you have never watched the movie.

Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb3tKTDH-q4


Search Site

Latest Articles

Apr 30, 2020

Finding Sally: HotDocs features Tamara Mariam Dawit’s intergenerational journey of remembrance and reckoning

in Movies by Meres J. Weche
Each year, the Hot Docs documentary festival — the largest in North America —… Read more >>
Feb 01, 2020

From LEGOs to Legacy: Ekow Nimako envisions Africa’s bright future

in Arts by Adele Ambrose
The AGA KHAN Museum presents Caravans of Gold Fragments in Time, from September… Read more >>
Nov 23, 2019

The Last Black Man in San Francisco — a tale of community

in Movies by Adele Ambrose
The Last Black Man in San Francisco marks the feature-length directorial debut… Read more >>
Oct 21, 2019

Illustrator Yasmeen Souffrant on designing your own path

in Careers & Workplace by Meres J. Weche
Montreal native and Haitian-Canadian, Yasmeen Souffrant, has loved drawing from… Read more >>
Oct 02, 2019

Finding agency through the lens

in Arts by Meres J. Weche
An interview with Sandrine Colard — curator of The Way She Looks photography… Read more >>

Latest on Instagram

Featured Events

No events found.

Join Our Mailing List

Find a Job

Subscribe to podcast

AfroToronto.com participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you purchase an item featured on our site. These affiliate links, along with advertisements, support us and they come to no expense for you.

Privacy Policy | Member Access

Copyright © 2005-2020 Culture Shox Media. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.