Lavazza Italian Film Festival Review: Mia Madre (Italy, 2015)

A deeply emotional and captivating film, Mia Madre (My Mother) stands as what is bound to be one of the many beautifully told Italian films on offer for the Lavazza Italian Film Festival. Having won awards from the likes of the Cannes Film Festival 2015 (Prize of the Ecumenical Jury), and being directed by Nanni Moretti – a recipient of over 42 international awards – it was easy to walk into the screening with high expectations. Lucky for us, the film remained mesmerizing till the very last scene.

Across the film we follow Margherita, played by Margherita Buy, as she not only juggles the stresses of directing her film, but also of being a mother to her teenage daughter, sister and daughter to a mother who is passing away. In addition to this, she has only recently separated from her boyfriend – thus making for a tumultuous and largely tense viewing experience. Indeed, as Moretti works Margherita’s dreams (or more nightmares) into the narrative, he does a spectacular job of ensuring that we as the audience share her fears, grief, and at times even moments of much needed joy.

The subject of a dying mother is indisputably a heartbreaking one, particularly as we watch Margherita’s mother struggle with the loss of not only her physical independence but also of her brilliant intellect. Bring in our sharing of Margherita’s grief as she struggles and fails to separate her sadness from her role as Director for a film, and you have yourself some extremely moving scenes. Along sharing Margerita’s sadness we also watch her mistakes and at times unpredictable temper in the work place, leading to some comic situations.

There are certainly scenes dedicated to the more uplifting of life experiences, with the wonderfully witty John Turturro turning the mood of the film around as he plays a high spirited, loud, extroverted American lead actor in Margherita’s film.  With his incredible charisma and larger than life interactions with both his Director and the remainder of the crew, we watch this humorous side of Margherita’s life work alongside and at times clash with her deepening sorrow about her mother.

All in all, I found Mia Madre to be a truly engrossing film that leans much closer to drama than to comedy. Taking into consideration the high quality of this film, I really can’t wait to see more of films that will be on offer across the Lavazza Italian Film Festival.

Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Mia Madre screens as part of the Lavazza Italian Film Festival, which tours nationally at Palace Cinemas from the 15th of September.  For tickets and screening times for this film, as well as details on the festival as a whole, visit the festival’s official website HERE.