Mia Madre (My Mother)Cannes Film Festival 2015
Italian director Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre (My Mother) pays homage to the bond between mother and child. It tackles the universality of loss: the helplessness we all eventually feel when faced with losing a loved one.
The film focuses on Margherita (Margherita Buy) as she struggles to come to terms with her mother’s declining health. At the same time, or perhaps as a consequence, Margherita experiences a flagging passion for the film she is directing. This stressful combination begins to take its toll on her. The narrative is interspersed with Margherita’s dreams and anxiety-induced reveries, but the lack of stylistic differentiation between the story itself and these short episodes blurs the boundaries between reality and daydreams. This works to reinforce the tension that has taken hold of the protagonist by bewildering the viewer, who is constantly caused to question whether what is on screen is merely a figment of Margherita’s uneasy subconscious.
Moretti himself offers a sensitive portrayal of Margherita’s brother, Giovanni, while John Turturro also features with a charismatic performance as the vivacious Barry Huggins: an American actor with a particular flair for melodrama. Turturro – who plays in Italian alongside his co-stars – brings energy and charm to his role. Each one of his scenes elevates the general mood of the film, which might otherwise have spiraled into a mildly depressing reflection on the futility of life (or something equally sombre). Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that, as melancholy as some aspects of Mia Madre may be, they show a sincerity that resonates on a profound scale. In any case, thanks to Turturro’s endearing character, the film does in fact alternate in its humour to include moments of pure laugh-out-loud comedy.
Mia Madre is a testament to the fact that, whatever we choose to do with our lives, whoever we aspire to become, none of us loses the vulnerability of our inner child, especially when faced with our own parents’ mortality.
Mia Madre (My Mother) is released on 18th September 2015.
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Watch a clip from Mia Madre (My Mother) here: