Sopranos image courtesy of HBO.

“Poor You: Gangsters, Mothers and The Sopranos”

Saturday, January 12, 2019

With a 35mm screening of The Public Enemy (1931, dir. William A. Wellman) + The Sopranos episode “Proshai, Livushka(2001).


In the pilot episode of “The Sopranos,” North Jersey gang boss Tony Soprano enters therapy with Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) to cope with panic attacks brought on by his anxiety about his cruel and manipulative mother Livia (Nancy Marchand). Tony never entirely escapes his mother’s clutches even after she dies, the aftermath of which is chronicled in the classic season three installment “Proshai, Livushka.” The tragedy sparks one of the greatest gatherings of a series that was at its best showing how family members claw at each other even when they’re leaning on one another for support. “Proshai, Livushka” will be screened as part of a double feature with the William A. Wellman thriller The Public Enemy, starring James Cagney as a gangster whose expressions of mother-love, unlike Tony’s, are fully reciprocated. Tony watches the movie throughout “Proshai, Livushka,” in mourning not just for what he lost, but for what he never had.


This unique double feature will be capped with a discussion of family relations as depicted on The Sopranos, moderated by Matt Zoller Seitz, with Vanity Fair film critic K. Austin Collins; RogerEbert.com critic and Big Media Vandalism publisher Odie Henderson; and Dr. Lisa Tischler, NY State Licensed Clinical Psychologist and specialist in anxiety control.


Part of “The Sopranos Film Festival,” presented by Split Screens. To buy a 10-film pass, click here.
Watch all episodes of
The Sopranos® Series on HBO Go/HBO NOW.


Photo from The Sopranos courtesy of HBO®.





  • Running Time 180 minutes