Cannes 2015: Fake emotions and forced laughter in “Mia Madre” by Nanni Moretti (review)

Once upon a time Nani Moretti made personal, tender, interesting films. Not anymore.

Margherita, the central character of Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre”, is a director, amidst the filming of her new film. She is separated, with a daughter who is away skiing with her dad and with a mother hospitalised due to heart problems, which are leading her at a stable but quick pace to death.

Her brother seems more capable of taking care of their mother, her lover is left behind as Margherita needs more space while the American star who arrives to star in her film in the role of a businessman who buys a factory and lays off a large percentage of workers, is problematic to say the least.

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In short, her life is an inextricably tangled web of events and emotions that put pressure on her and lead her inevitably to a personal crisis. A crisis centred around her mother’s bed at the hospital, through present snapshots and flash backs of the past, through innermost thoughts and frightening dreams.

Moretti wants to create a balanced melodrama, a coming of age film, which, contrary to common assumptions, does not happen at the age of twenty, a film abouth the confrontation with ourselves and time. What we see on the screen, however, is unfortunately something so false and calculated, that leaves us untouched, unmoved and does not concern us even for a moment.

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Its drama seems constructed with a ruler and a compass and its jokes so easy and forced that you feel embarrassed and slightly ashamed for a director whom you once loved for his spirit and delicate, ironic humor. Things that here are completely absent…

Read more of our Cannes 2015 reviews here.