Nanni Moretti directs himself playing himself in this wry look at life. Presented in three chapters, Moretti uses the experiences of traveling on his motor-scooter, cruising with his friend... See full summary »
A retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and his film director best friend in the Alps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to perform for Prince Philip's birthday.
The manager of a pancake stall finds himself confronted with an odd but sympathetic elderly woman looking for work. A taste of her homemade bean jelly convinces him to hire her, which ... See full summary »
These are hard days for Margherita, who is going through a very difficult period in her life. On a professional level first, the middle-aged film director, has started wondering whether the committed movies she has been making are really an actual reflection of the world she lives in ; on top of this, she is in conflict not only with her crew but also, and primarily, with Barry Huggins, a well-known American actor of Italian origin, who proves awfully bad and uncontrollable. On the personal level, things do not get any better - it could even be said they are worse. Margherita has just left her life partner and she has become unable to relate to her teenage daughter. As for her mother, she is now seriously ill and her doctor tries to prepare her brother and her for the worst. Which is unacceptable to the weakened woman who can find salvation only in denial of reality. Will she manage to face up to the facts and to come to terms with herself? Written by
Fifteen years after having made an acclaimed film about losing a child, Nanni Moretti now tackles the subject of losing a parent. 'Mia Madre' is a thinly veiled autobiographical film: Moretti's mother died while he was making his previous film, the comedy 'Habemus Papam'. To emphasize how strongly 'Mia Madre' is based on real events, the lead character in the film is a director, and the name of the mother (Ada) is very similar to Moretti's own mother's name (Agata).
There are differences too. The director is a woman, not a man, and she is directing a serious social drama, not a comedy. While she has to give all her attention to the whimsical star of her drama, an American actor played by John Turturro, she has trouble accepting the truth of her mother's deteriorating health. Her mother simply cannot die now, she tells the doctor who breaks the sad news, because she still has so many things to do.
Moretti has done a perfect job in showing how the death of a mother makes you go through an emotional roller-coaster. Margherita, the lead character, seems to be able to cope with a lot, including her lead actor making a mess of his role, but she breaks down when she wakes up at night to find her apartment flooded. It's only after such a calamity that Margherita is able to grieve. Actress Margherita Buy gives a very touching and subtle performance as the caring daughter on the one hand and determined director on the other hand.
Turturro's role as the self-indulgent but incapable actor gives the film some comic relief, a welcome change from the emotional scenes dealing with the dying mother. Also, Moretti has inserted quite a few scenes which seem to divert from reality: sometimes you realize after a while that you're watching a dream-like scene that not really happened, but gives you some insight in what Margherita thinks or feels.
'Mia Madre' is a film about strong emotions, but it never aims at cheap tear jerking effects. Moretti perfectly knows how to deal with death.
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