‘A Bad Mother and a Small Heap of Bones:’ Maternal Indifference in Alessandro Capone’s L’Amore Nascosto

Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


This chapter shows how Alessandro Capone’s L’amore nascosto (2009) grants narrative agency to a ‘bad’ mother figure and compellingly stages her un-motherly feelings, yet ultimately re-affirms the naturalness of maternal love. Engaging with Rozsika Parker’s psychoanalytic notions of maternal ambivalence, guilt, and shame, Karagoz contests the film’s reduction of the protagonist’s story to a drama of maternal ambivalence—its assumption that she simultaneously loves and hates her daughter—which Karagoz describes as the master narrative of L’amore nascosto. By analyzing the interplay of devices such as framing and lighting with the film’s ambivalent narrative, with a focus on the black and white flashbacks, Karagoz demonstrates that what L’amore nascosto represents instead, through its counter narrative, is maternal indifference: a woman’s lack of interest in mothering and her inability to love her daughter.


Alessandro Capone Maternal indifference Bad mother  Idealized motherhood  Isabelle Huppert 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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