Of the eleven films competing for the Cross Section IDFA Award as Best Feature Documentary, nearly half are about mothers and grandmothers. Perhaps no other stories could be told until the umbilical cord was cut by a new generation.
One of the lessons every student in art school learns: Talk about what you know. Don’t look for it in far corners, on tricky winding roads that you think you should admire, but stay close to home. Cosmic specifically in person.
So it’s no surprise that many graduation movies are about the original family. What is less common is that in the first IDFA competition (Cross Section IDFA Award) five of the eleven feature-length documentaries revolve around mothers. Each in its own way, overlapping in some areas.
In four of these five documentaries, the film revolves around the (elderly) mother of the same director. In two cases over two generations of mothers. Together the films depict the difficulty and beauty of being a mother, being a child, caring for one another, and the different obstacles different cultures face from birth.
In a Chinese documentary Dear mother, I meant to write about death Daughter and director Si Chen reflects on her relationship with her mother, which prevents her from saying she has cancer. Delightful still image Guapo’y by Sophia Pauli Thorne of Paraguay Shows a paradisiacal silence after a decades-long storm, as mother and daughter look back at the Stroessner dictatorship.
Male abuse of power is exposed in Colombia Martha’s love; Sadiq transferred from grandmother to granddaughter. In a letter, Daniela Lopez, the grandmother of a domestic violence victim, begs the creator of domestic violence to cut ties with her future husband because she sees signs on the wall: “Stop the vicious cycle of violence that we women of this family are subjected to.” The cry for help is the beginning of an intimate look at what was Grandma has to bear it.
Toxic masculinity It also plays a major role in the Mexican language Mom. The only documentary out of these five was made by a man, Xun Sero, depicting his mother.
The right title says it all (the original Mexican title is the sweetest sound Mother). Mom It’s a movie where, with the exception of my son, he doesn’t show one man in a motion picture until the end. My son seems to be protecting his mother from the toxic masculinity to which he has been exposed. He himself for a long time resented his mother because he does not have a father present, but his film with his mother in the main role can be considered as compensation given to her.
What she shares with her son combatively rather than melodramatically is a personal history of violence. During her teenage pregnancy, she could only hope for the birth of a boy – and life would be easier for that.
In the words of mother Hilda: “Women with temperament are the only ones who get more.”
very big inheritance
Opposite pole with overlap, compared to Mom Iranian silent house By brother and sister Muhammad Reza and Farnaz Garabashian. The semi-operal autobiography of their family, who lives in the home of Ismat Dolchahi, the fourth wife of former Iranian King Reza Shah, is about their grandfather’s desire for prestige on the one hand and their grandmother and mother who live there in equal measure. On the other hand – the fruits are reaped as an experienced burden. A Visconti-esque portrait of status and luxury within the crumbling walls of what was once a stately fortress.
especially between Momabout a mother of humble origin in the countryside, and silent house, about the partially purchased Iranian high society, a pleasant dialogue is taking place, even at the stage level. It’s clearly up to the next generation to have that conversation. Cut the umbilical cord before telling other stories. Hate, tolerance and love go hand in hand.
in silent house A grandmother laments her late husband, after fifty years of being together and six children: “He was so mean and restless, he treated me like dirt. I didn’t feel happy until he was in his coffin.” At the beginning Mom We see how a mother still looks after her father’s grave, perhaps alone. Despite everything he wished and did for her. Rooster sound in the background. When you leave, you slide the corrugated iron back over its final resting place to protect it. Until next time, you can almost hear it. As if they were covering it up.
“How do we go back?” Her son asks her after visiting the tomb, inquiring about the way. “With this route, there is no other way,” his mother says, with a swelling in her throat.
Dear mother, I meant to write about death (Women zai heiye de haishang) by Siyi Chen, Guapo’y Written by Sophia Pauli Thorne Martha’s love (Amanda Martha) by Daniela Lopez, Mom (Mother) by Xun Sero and silent house (Khani Khamosh) by Farnaz and Mohammadreza Jurabchian at IDFA, November 9-20, 2022 in Amsterdam