Scary Mother Screen 6 articles

Scary Mother


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  • A bold debut, not least for its willingness to take on such a specific, unusual scenario. Urushadze manages a remarkable kind of controlled hysteria from her actors, and imbues painterly compositions with quiet intensity.

  • Manana’s fears are visually sustained by the contrast between the cold social realism and the strikingly red interior where she moves in to create after abandoning her family. This is probably an obvious metaphor of blood and sacrifice as much as pulsating life, as the authorship experience is in a way similar to giving birth.

  • There are many pitfalls into which a filmmaker examining creative people can fall—visual metaphors that land too neatly, alcohol flowing too freely, torment and madness too married to the creative impulse. Urushadze, daughter of acclaimed Georgian director Zaza Urushadze, doesn’t entirely avoid these traps... What comes more strongly into focus, however, is the unstoppability of Manana’s creative process once it has been unleashed.

  • This bold first feature from Ana Urushadze, the daughter of Georgian director Zaza Urushadze, layers mythology and symbolism over the stark, brutalism of a post-communist society. And while it suffers slightly from having a central character who is increasingly unmoored from the the world around her - Manana seems both away with the fairies and feverishly internalised - the film makes strong points about gender roles and the sacrifices required in the service of the compulsion to create.

  • Though its cerebral chilliness, emotional remove and narrative abstruseness might make it a hard sell (Urushadze is perhaps unlikely to get quite as far as her father, Zaza, did with 2013’s Oscar-nominated “Tangerines”), this is nevertheless a startling debut that wholly earns its place as standard-bearer for one of the most exciting and distinctive national cinemas to have emerged in recent years.

  • Urushadze expertly shifts the ambiance from a relatively playful first half to a darkly expressionistic conclusion. She’s also aided by Nata Murvanidze’s quietly intense performance, as well as the artful frontal compositions of cinematographer Mindia Esadze.