Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Mia Madre (2015) opens Friday
Nanni Moretti's MIA MADRE is the rarest of rare birds, a film that will have you doubled over with laughter one minute and sobbing genuine tears the next. It made it's US premiere at the New York FIlm Festival yesterday and instantly jumped to top, or damn close, to being the best film at the festival and one of my great treasures of 2015.
Moretti's film is based on his experience with the death of his own mother. While editing WE HAVE A POPE his mother passed away. He knew he had to do something with the story and he turned it into a film.
The film follows Margherita (Margherita Buy) as she is hard at work on her next film. As she deals with the film and life her mother, a once mighty classics teacher, begins to decline. As she and her brother (played by Moretti) deal with the illness she tries to finish her movie and a crazy American actor played by John Turturro.
Designed to give you the head space of Margherita the film nails what its like to deal with a declining parent slipping toward death perfectly. I could see the conversations I had with my mom in several scenes. The audience around me sobbed at times, and the woman seated to my right bolted toward the end with a loud moan of "I can't deal with this any more" (an earlier comment suggested it was too close to home). Despite how it may sounds its not a depressing film, it is a glorious representation of life and when it ends you will feel really good.
While the entire cast, especially Margherita Bay, are outstanding the one you'll remember is John Turturro who shines as a crazy actor who tells the story, repeatedly, of going to work with Kubrick for a week and staying 3 months. Its a role that produces two scenes of absolute howling tears rolling down your cheeks, falling out of your seat laughter. The first involves shooting a scene in a car, the other a dance that he himself devised. This last bit will put him in the running for an Oscar and brand his career for better or ill as the role that he is best known for.
This is a great film from top to bottom. It is a glorious cinematic representation of life and it moved me deeply. I don't know what to say except put this near the top of your must see list.