9th October 2019 6.15pm at ICA Cinema
11th October 2019 1.00pm at Prince Charles Cinema
In this moving portrayal of life in a women’s refuge or hogar in Argentina, Maura Delpero creates a portrait of motherhood under the most testing conditions. Lu (Agustina Malale) is a rebellious teenage mother to an adorable toddler, who struggles with the restrictions put upon her life. Meanwhile, her more introverted childhood best friend Fatima (Denise Carrizo) awaits the arrival of her second child, finding safety and comfort with the nuns who run the refuge.
After Lu leaves and returns to her abusive partner, a gentle nun called Paola (Lidiya Liberman) takes a shine to her daughter and becomes a temporary surrogate mother. The relationship between the two is both heartwarming and heartbreaking to watch as genuine affection blossoms on both sides, perceptibly testing Paola’s faithfulness to the life of a nun.
While the plot lacks momentum at points, every actor delivers a stunning performance. The backdrop of the refuge – its neutral tones relieved by splashes of colour in children’s drawings – is sombre, yet calming and realistic. The film serves to present motherhood on a complex and multifaceted level. From the aggressively protective mothers at the hogar to the elderly nuns who offer the women and children sensitive caregiving at an arm’s reach, the film delves into the complexities and intersectionality of motherhood.
This is an impressive fictional directorial debut for Delpero, who spent four years observing the interactions between nuns and women at a religious centre. The representation of the women at the refuge is a clear indication of this dedication; great care has been taken to portray a community of diverse women who have all had different paths in life and who all crave a little freedom, even for just an evening.
Maternal (Hogar) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch a clip from Maternal (Hogar) here: