Nanni Moretti’s Cannes-Prize Winner, MIA MADRE, opens August 26, 2016
Respected Italian director Nanni Moretti brings his latest film to the big screen with the story of of Margherita (Margherita Buy), a workaholic film director trying to make a very intense movie about workers rights and still attend to her own personal life, which at the moment is also in turmoil, because of a sick mother and the a declining relationship with her teenage daughter. This film is definitely autobiographically and has a lot of poignant things to say about how we as people deal with the sadness and sacredness of the lives we live.
I love the extreme close up shot about six minutes into the film of Margherita’s eyes. They look like a spiraling galaxy, and then the cut to her mother laying sick in bed. In that simple cut, I felt the entirety of the human condition and a questioned asked; are we just insignificant specks on the ripples of time and space, or are we apart of something more? This is a beautifully shot scene and well acted.
Ms. Buy does a great job of displaying the spirit of turmoil in the fictitious character of Margherita. It seems she is perpetually on the verge of tears, as she consistently fights the losing battle of trying to direct her unpredictable life in an almost Greek tragedy sort of way.
The couple’s dialogue as they argue outside of Margherita’s movie premiere displays the movies possible overall theme. You don’t know how you hurt the ones you love. Maybe that’s why the character of Margherita loves the cinema, because everything is controlled and planned ahead; the dialogue, the scenery, the beginning, the middle and the end. Life is not like that. Life is messy and unpredictable. I also think the advice that the character Margherita gives her actors should be noted. “The actor must be next to the character.” This is strongly thematic, and I believe the message is; we need to take a look at ourselves from the outside to gain perspective.
John Turturro (Barry) plays an American actor brought in for a film and is a wacky breath of fresh air in the movie. When he wakes up from a bad dream in the back of Margherita’s car and proclaims that he just had a dream that Kevin Spacey tried to kill him. I laughed out loud. We’ve all had that dream…haven’t we? The rest of the supporting cast does a tremendous job. The cinematography is classical and modern at the same time and immerses the viewer into a melancholy but beautiful world of hope and sadness.
I’ll end with this little message, I’m feeling a little philosophical this morning, because good films make you think about the human condition. I think that we try to control things just to distract ourselves from the fact that we have no real control. That the only true thing we have are the moments we spend with the people we love. Everything else is an illusion of light and fiction; a staged theatrical farce that we try in vain to direct. Try not to dwell on your next scene or the last, but stand in the moment with fearlessness and breathe in the beauty, sadness and joy that is your life. The credits will roll sooner than you think.
Mia Madre Opens in New York and Los Angeles August, 26th.
“Mia Madre” Comedy, Drama 1h 47m Directed by Nanni Moretti
Written by Nanni Moretti, Francesco Piccolo and Valia Santella
Cast: Margherita Buy, John Turturro, Giulia Lazzarini
Reviewer Bio: Craig Sawyer lives in Los Angeles. He is an actor and writer of screenplays, graphic novels and speculative fiction.
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