MY MOTHER (Mia madre)
Director: Nanni Moretti
Screening times and locations:
June 16 @ 7:00pm Cinema Cartier – Quebec City
June 19 @ 7:00pm Cinema Guzzo – Montreal
I joined the Nanni Moretti conversation late in the game, and I don’t have the preconceived opinions about him. To me, he’s the amazing auteur that gave us La Stanza Del Figlio and Habemus Papam, but to my Italian friends, he is a polarizing force. They love him or they hate him, nothing in between, something to do with his politics, and as Dr. Phil likes to say, “I don’t have a dog in that fight”, so I don’t care.
Haters I implore you; give him another chance.
Mia Madre is Nanni Moretti’s best work ever, a perfectly balanced, artfully told story about grief, loss, and self-reflection. Nothing maudlin here, and though it is at times achingly sad, it’s not a cheesy tear-jerker. Moretti’s script and Margherita Buy’s best actress award-winning performance as Margherita, a film director, put the viewer solidly into the story as observation turns to meditation. Buy’s character is the modern everyman; self-absorbed, impatient, and a bit removed from relationships in her life.
Divorced and in a failing relationship, Margherita’s life has four burning pots and no back burner to put them aside to. The film that she’s directing is taking every amount of energy she has, mostly thanks to the manic and arrogant American star (played by John Turturro). At the same time, her mother is in the hospital, dying from heart disease. These things along with the normal everyday life problems are pushing Margherita over the edge. As Moretti also experienced the recent loss of his own mother, the film is semi-autobiographical, making the film’s primary protagonist a woman.
Their darling mother, played by Giulia Lazzarini (who won best supporting actress at the Davids), is delicately slipping away and wistfully noting her decreased capacity to function, but others remind Margherita and her brother, played by Moretti, that their Mamma had been a dynamic woman who changed people’s lives.