In the name of the mother

From mother/father to daughters/sons
by Roberto Pugliese
  • preview 2022

Parenthood is a subject that has appeared in the several editions of the Venice Film Festival. We don’t need to go back to its earlier years – coming to mind are Pa- solini’s Mamma Roma (1962) and Pudovkin’s masterpiece Mother (1926), which passed in the Soviet retrospective programme by Francesco Savio in 1963.

More recently, Kim Ki-duk’s disturb- ing two films Pieta and Moebius (2012 and 2013) and the delirious, apocalyptical Mother! by Darren Aronofsky (2017).  The 79th edition of the Venice Film Festival sees the theme of parenthood in all its sections.
In the main competition, we’ll find Aronofsky again with The Whale, where an obese man has a tormented relationship with his teenage daughter and with fatherhood itself. The tragic myth of Medea, the child-killing mother, lingers in the air in Saint Omer by Senegalese-French Alice Diop. Its ideal counterpoint is Vahid Jalilvand’s Beyond the Wall, that sees a mother desperately looking for her four-year-old, which she lost during a workers’ protest. Noam Baumbach’s White Noise, Emanuele Crialese’s L’immensità, and Gianluca Matarrese’s and Guillaume Thomas’ Pinned into a Dress seem to materialize the Anna Karenina principle – All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Parenthood hopes for recovery in En los Márgenes by Juan Diego Botto, and the need to cultivate a relationship between older mothers and grown-up daughters shows both in Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter and in Andrea Pallaoro’s Monica.
Also, take notice of Florian Zeller: after his The Father of 2020, starring Anthony Hopkins, he will present The Son. Fyzal Boulifa’s Les damnés ne paurent pas celebrates the tormented, though necessary, relationship between mother and son, the only way to survive the wounds of modernity.


After her recent separation from her husband, Rie and her son go live in her childhood home. Some time later, she meets Daisuke and the two marry. Daisuke, unfortunately, dies i...



Vera Gemma, the daughter of famous Italian actor Giuliano Gemma and reality TV star, spends her time in the shadow of her dead father. To try and redeem herself from frivolous l...



Blanca is an eighteen-year-old single mother who lives in a halfway house near Santiago. The house is run by Father Manuel, who is socially active in his community and has been ...



The backdrop is Rome in the 1970s and a bourgeois environment. In a new, modern apartment, Clara e Felice cannot seem to come to terms with the end of their marriage. The only t...



After a very long time, trans woman Monica visits her family home in Ohio, which she left years before. The occasion is a visit to her ill mother, and to the rest of the family ...



A twenty-four-hour countdown for three characters that struggle to keep afloat. When time is out, their lives might be irreparably damaged. Azucena fights her family’s evictio...



Inspired by real events that took place in France in 2013, the film follows Rama, a thirty-year-old author and soon-to-be mother who attends a trial at the court of law in Saint...



Teenager Selim is induced by his mother, Fatima-Zahra, to resign his job as he is underpaid. Beyond Fatima’s exhortations, there are other reasons that will have consequences ...



A ghost story that digs deep into the complexity of family relationships. A middle-aged artist returns to his old family home in Wales after several years, together with her agi...



Two years after his parents divorced, seventeen-year-old Nicholas (Zen McGrath) cannot live with his mother anymore. The depression he feel never leaves him, and he can only fin...