After 15th edition
Festival Spotlight
02 August 2015
2.08 - Closing on Mother

Ian Haydn Smith

Editor Curzon Magazine

What is it about Italians and their mothers? You don't have to watch that many Italian films to see just how sacrosanct 'Mamma' is in the country's cultural fabric. It's a subject Nanni Moretti has broached before, but not with the gusto of Mia Madre, the festival's closing night film. It's a return to the Moretti we know - and some of us love - after his satires on Berlusconi (2006's The Caiman) and the Pontiff (2011's We Have a Pope).

Moretti's muse of recent years Margherita Buy plays Margherita, a filmmaker weighed down by insecurity that her film will fail and a sense of guilt over having not paid enough attention to her dying mother. Matters are not helped by the fact that her brother (Moretti) is almost saintly in his devotion to the ageing matriarch. And then there's the arrival of American film star Barry Huggins (John Turturro), an egotistical neurotic whose grasp of the Italian language is as slight as his talent.

Margherita is gripped by bizarre dreams. Along with Turturro's hilarious presence, they lighten the film's darkening mood. Moretti has long been skilled at handling the minutiae of human emotions. Here he goes straight for the heart and yours would have to be made of stone not to be moved by it.

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