Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original title: Ma Mere
France/Portugal/Austria/Spain, 2004. Gemini Films, Amour Fou Filmproduktion, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Arte France Cinéma, Audiovisual Consulting, Canal+, Filmfonds Wien, Les Films du Camélia, Les Films du Lendemain, S2 International, Österreichischer Rundfunk. Screenplay by Christophe Honore, based on the novel by Georges Bataille. Cinematography by Helene Louvart. Produced by Paulo Branco, Bernard-Henri Levy. Production Design by Laurent Allaire. Costume Design by Pierre Canitrot. Film Editing by Chantal Hymans.
Les enfants sont terribles et ses parents sont pire! In this French version of Laurel Canyon, Louis Garrel (The Dreamers) plays an uptight, conservative son who comes to stay with his parents (Philippe Duclos, Isabelle Huppert) in the Canary Islands. After his father dies in an accident, he and his mother are left to enjoy spending his money, she initiating her son into her freewheeling life of reckless sex, drinking and all-night parties and he jumping right in without reservation. Garrel finds himself obsessed with getting close to his mother, going to great lengths of physical intimacy that would make even Oepidus run screaming. If you ever dreamed of having sex with your mother’s lover in her presence (while licking her knee no less), this is the movie for you! Filmmaker Christophe Honore never really gets any meaning out of the shocking scenes he so naturally creates in this disturbing drama, but he does coax a fantastic performance out of the ever-luminous Huppert. The characters are rich, but the result is a complete letdown; you have to endure endless scenes of naked bodies in the hopes that the story will make a statement in the end, but instead it goes over the deep end of taste and its audience’s patience. Lots of flesh, and lots of personality too, but all in all an empty experience.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2004