Thursday, September 29, 2016

Mia Madre (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Mia Madre” Is A Director’s Life
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Federico Fellini gave us the memories of a harried movie director in “8 1/2.” And Woody Allen revisited this theme with his Felliniesque “Stardust Memories,” the story of a filmmaker looking back on his life.

Now Nanni Moretti gives us another point of view. In his new film -- “Mia Madre,” now playing at Tropic Cinema -- we meet Margherita, a middle-aged director struggling with a mid-life crisis. She’s wondering whether her movies accurately reflect the world around her.

Margherita (played by Margherita Buy) is distraught. Not only is she having problems with her film crew, she’s at odds with her line-flubbing star, Italian-American actor Barry Huggins (John Turturro). She’s left her boyfriend, at odds with her daughter, and facing her mother’s imminent death. Things are pretty bad.

Nanni Moretti admits to an autobiographical aspect in “Mia Madre.” “It’s the feeling that Margherita has,” he says. “That she never feels up to what she’s doing, that she’s always ill at ease.”

Born in Rome, Moretti had a love of movies and politics. Upon graduating from high school, he sold his stamp collection to buy a super8 cinema camera and began making short films. His first success came in 1973 with “Ecce Bombo,” which has become a cult film. Through a series of short fragmentary scenes, he offers a snapshot of Italian life. It has been called “a true description of the social life of the time.”

Just the kind of film that his protagonist Margherita is ruminating about in “Mia Madre.”

But as the title implies, it’s Margherita’s heart-wrenchng relationship with her dying mother that is at the core of her angst.

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