Madre is a complex yet slow film that allows audiences to ponder the relationships at its centerpiece while enjoying its beautiful cinematography and setting. It is the first of three films featured in Spanish Cinema Now +, a project by the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain. The embassy works to connect U.S. audiences with Spanish art; this collection aims to display Spain’s “established auteurs and emerging filmmakers.” Madre director Rodrigo Sorogoyen is well known in the Spanish film scene, having won three of Spain’s annual Goya awards. He broke into international acclaim with the 2017 Oscar-nominated short film Madre, which is essentially the prologue to his 2019 feature-length film of the same name. Madre shows Sorogoyen’s capabilities in crafting a unique, thoughtful, yet sufficiently uncomfortable relationship between an adult woman grappling with loss and a rebellious teenage boy. Interestingly, it takes place almost entirely in France, but the main character’s Spanish origin importantly enhances her ‘otherness’ and provides a link to the tragic past event that shapes the narrative. The other two films in Spanish Cinema Now + also discuss themes of forgiveness, haunting pasts, and difficult parent-child relationships, among unassuming people: Fire Will Come follows a man returning from prison for arson to his rural fire-stricken hometown, while A Thief’s Daughter studies the characters within one working-class Spanish family. The film series is available at afisilver.afi.com and spainculture.us through May 30. Madre is available through April 22. $12.
This post has been updated.