Saturday, January 21, 2023

Mamacruz (2022) Sundance 2023

Kiti Manver gives a performance for the ages as a 70 year old grandmother who rediscovers life thanks to a chance encounter with porn. The encounter reawakens parts of her life that had fallen dormant and she charges out to find the life she should be living.

This film begins and ends with Manver. Giving a performance where she literally lets it all hang out, she gives us a portrait of life that rarely seen. I'm not talking about the nudity, I'm talking about the openness and emotional rawness of real people.  She isn't giving us a character crafted in a script but a living breathing emotionally charged one. Watching her go through her paces I felt connections to my own life. I saw the lives of many women I know reflecting back at me.

This isn't a typical Hollywood great performance, nor is this a Michael Caine "it's all in the eyes" performance but something greater. This is a performance where Manver acts with ever part of her body. She is not the woman you saw in any of her previous films, but something else. As I said at the top it is a performance for the ages.

And it simply adds so much to writer director Patricia Ortega's film, which is wonderful on it's own terms. Yes I've been waxing poetic about Manver but she couldn't have been this good if Ortega didn't give her a character and situations to inhabit. Ortega keeps it all real and never goes for a laugh or a tear, but keeps everything close to how it would be so the laughs and tears come naturally.  Its a perfectly modulated film that stops being a film and simply becomes life.

What a glorious film.

I can't recommend it enough.

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