This is a lesser work. “A glimpse of a director finding his style” as the Criterion copy says. I don’t know, this is my introduction to this director, but I am aware of the poetic eroticism of his later works. A few things are worth noting here:
1. His choice of faces. A sort of broken poetry, assymetrical, except for the main actress whose reactions are rooted in the neorealist tradition, we have a highly cinematic stillness in some of the kids part of the gang.
2. The father/ex-lover/pimp who just has to show up to provoke total submission in Mama Roma.
3. The prostitution scenes, a circular space with its own continuous life. This is made explicit by having different passersby stumble upon fragments of story and seemilingly ‘understanding’ and engaging into the conversation.
That’s it for me. It’s a matter of bad luck sometimes, I am demoting him off the waiting list, but I’ll come around.