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Thursday, April 19, 2012

"Best Picture" Madame Rosa (1977) "Brilliant" Simone Signoret





Madame Rosa (1977) La vie devant soi (original title)



Stars: Simone Signoret, Michal Bat-Adam and Samy Ben-Youb
Director: Moshé Mizrahi Writers: Romain Gary (novel), Moshé Mizrahi (adaptation)




Plot
Madame Rosa (Simone Signoret) is a frail, aging, retired Jewish prostitute and Auschwitz survivor who earns a meager living by caring for the children of younger female sex workers, as well as for Momo (short for Mohammed) (Sami Ben Youb), a young Arab boy on the verge of adolescence. Momo hasn't seen his parents in years. He and Madame Rosa struggle to make ends meet, and as her body and mind start to fail, it becomes clear that Momo is the only person she has left in the world. Despite his young age, he has to help Madame Rosa who refuses to be hospitalized. He will stay with her as she faces her ultimate fears and prepares for her last and most difficult voyage.


Background
The story of Madame Rosa and Momo unfolds in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community. The profound emotional bond between the two main characters, one an old Jewish woman and the other a young Arab boy, is what drives the film emotionally from the beginning to the end.
The film also emphasizes the compassion and empathy that can be found in such a disadvantaged community context through the helping gestures of the secondary characters. Madame Lola, for example, while being bluntly described by Momo as "a transvestite" who had been "a boxing champion in Senegal" is depicted in both the book and the film without any sensationalism. To the contrary, she is presented as a compassionate human being who is concerned by the poverty of Madame Rosa and Momo giving them food and money without expecting anything in return.
Momo says of her that "she's really somebody", that he "likes her"; Madame Rosa declares, "She's a Saint, I don't know where we'd be without her". The dynamic represented between Madame Rosa, Momo and their transsexual prostitute neighbor, Madame Lola, stands as a good example of the type of deeply humanistic values and respect for human difference, whether that difference is of a sexual, religious, or racial nature, that is embedded in Romain Gary's written text and further successfully emphasized through Moshé Mizrahi's cinematographic representation of the story.
Awards
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (1977)
César Award for Best Actress for Simone Signoret (1978)

Release date: 2 November 1977 (France)
19 March 1978 (USA)105 min - Drama
French with English sub-titles
Good to Very Good Quality ~ digital transfer!



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DVDS in DVD/CD sleeve, photo label.
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