“Ma Mère” – Chris Luedtke

Evidently, according to my calendar, it is my turn to take a sip of coffee and step up yet once again and tell you about another week of the foreign cinema in my life. I want to go on the record right now and state that cinema from pretty much any country is far superior to America’s. You can go on how America makes movies that you like and blah blah blah, but its the cinema from other countries that really appears to, at least in my eyes, have a strong sense of integrity and originality. However, once in a while, us critics run into one of those pieces of cinema that, well, defies our personal outlooks on cinema.

Ma Mère is the fictional (I hope) story of a boy named Pierre (Louis Garrel) who moves in with his mother (Isabelle Huppert) and ends up falling in closer with her than most of us ever would. However, the mother manages to suppress her mutual desires for her own seed by passing him off to a wild friend of hers who helps to open his eyes to an even more sexually messed-up existence.

I know what you’re saying right now, “Oh Chris, what have you done now? What kind of summary is that? Please tell us this is some hideously early April Fool’s Day joke.” Nope. There is no joke here. Everything that you read in the above text is true. What I was thinking when I updated my Netflix queue, I really don’t know. Anything here that sounds like it could have a good psychological factor to it may as well be thrown out the window with extreme prejudice. Pierre is a messed-up kid to begin with, but the movie is really vague as to why, other than the fact that his family life is a wreck. The mother just ends up throwing her son into situations that don’t help him but rather hurt him even more. Why is he hurt(ing)? I don’t know.

The story is disjointed, and there’s more to it than I’ve let on, but that’s because I’m trying to save your soul. The story isn’t Shakespeare by eons and flows in such a way that I got lost in what exactly was supposed to be happening or what the real point behind all of it was. It almost felt like a pseudo sympathy trip, but I didn’t feel sorry for any characters because they were all so stuck in their holes. Continuity is an issue too. There are scenes that just end up cutting out; at one point, Pierre was kneeling in a sand dune asking questions about God. It made little sense, and while his faith is brought to light earlier in the film, it just becomes something that swings back and forth and holds no real merit in the grand scheme of things.

Ma Mère is one of those foreign films that I can’t help but just loathe. There is nothing to be had throughout except overly disturbing experimentations in a sexual world. In fact, I almost want to label this piece of banality pornography due to the excessive and unnecessary amount of nudity. I know the characters may be “experimental,” but the formula is not. This film sucks. End of story.

Rating: ½☆☆☆

-Chris Luedtke

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