Mia Madre (15)

Directed by Nanni Moretti
Picturehouse, Liverpool
2nd October - 8th October 2015

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

I am always a bit wary of films which portray middle-class directors making so-called realist dramas about the struggles of the working class and Mia Madre (My Mother) is a case in point.

Margherita (Margherita Buy) is shooting sequences of a strike and sit in at a factory, while contending with various issues in her life. it is never made clear what the dispute is about.

Her mother is confined to hospital with failing health, she has recently split up from her boyfriend, apparently because of her emotional cruelty towards him- not the best way to foster a relationship! - and she badgers her teenage daughter, who is livng with her estranged husband, into learning Latin, but she is not sure why she is so insistent on someone bothering to learn a dead language.

To make matters worse she has recently recruited a veteran American actor, Barry Huggins, well past his sell-by date, played by John Turturro, to take a role in her movie as the new factory boss. But he comes across as amateurish in the extreme, often not being able to remember a simple line, so you have to ask why did she employ him in the first place if he is so incompetent.

It is never made clear how far up the pecking order Margherita is on the Italian film directors ladder, not very high given the leaden and far from realist scenes which she directs.

But away from her director's chair she is a frequent visitor, along with her brother, to the local hospital to share time with her mum, Ada (Giulia Lazzarini) , whom both of them adore. The time they share with her are the most compelling of the film, evoking intense human empathy and love.

The music of Arvo Part and Phillip Glass also helps to stir the emotions.

NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.

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