Friday, May 17, 2019

In Celia Rico Clavellino's JOURNEY TO A MOTHER'S ROOM, a daughter bonds even as she pulls away from mom

The multi-award-winning Spanish drama, JOURNEY TO A MOTHER'S ROOM, walked away with many Gaudi awards (the main film awards of Catalonia) but didn't win any of its four nominations in the yearly Goya awards (the premiere film awards of the entire country of Spain). The film, written and directed by Celia Rico Clavellino (shown below), is a small, intimate and I am guessing quite low-budget tale of the relationship between a nearly adult daughter and the single mother who clearly loves her offspring but maybe "mothers" her a bit too much.

This is a fairly simple tale, simply told (via stationary camera in front of which the actors and any action moves), and it is also, I must say, very slow-paced. But -- and this is a fairly big but -- the film is buoyed by two excellent performances: from famed Catalan actress, Lola Dueñas, (below left, as mom), and Anna Castillo (below, right) as the daughter.

The slow pacing has to do most with lack of incident to fill up the film's 95-minute running time. There is some, of course, but an awful lot of time is spent with the camera focusing on Ms Dueñas or Ms Castillo pondering. Both actresses do this very well, and Ms Clavellino, as filmmaker, is skilled enough to make certain we know what it is the characters are most likely thinking about. But a little of this goes a long way.

The film's theme would seem to be the moving of that daughter away from mom and toward her own life and career (if indeed a career is even available anymore to the youth of Europe and the West, given globalization and automation). But everything the daughter does -- supposedly going to London and getting a "nanny" job" -- we learn via phone conversation. And since the daughter is shown to be not very good at her old job in a garment manufacturing plant, gotten we assume by her mom's connection (mom was a much-loved seamstress there), and she lies to her mom about smoking, we do wonder if maybe she's telling the whole truth about London.

Well, probably, mostly, she is, but it is mom who registers strongly here. During daughter's time away, she must come to terms with loneliness and her place in the world, and she does blossom just a bit before reunion occurs. (A job creating costumes for a would-be talented dance troupe provides some incident and energy.)

In its way the movie is like a small but telling chapter in the lives and relationship of these two women. It's probably no turning point, and not much of anything is resolved. But there's enough character here, provided via the filmmaker and her actors, to make the viewing worthwhile. From Outsider Pictures, Journey to a Mother's Room opens here in South Florida today, Friday, May 17, in Miami at MDC’s Tower Theater, in Fort Lauderdale at the Savor Cinema, In Hollywood at the Cinema Paradiso (Select showings only), and in Boca Raton at the Living Room Theaters.

Personal Appearances! 
The writer/director (above, left) and one of the stars of the film, Lola Dueñas (above, center) will attend the events listed below:
Savor Cinema, 503 SE 6 Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 on Friday, May 17 at 6:30pm for the reception and 7:30pm screening with a 9:00pm Q&A.

Living Room Theaters on FAU Campus 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 on Saturday, May 18. Q&As will take place late afternoon/early evening. Click here for showtimes. Or call theater for further information: 561-549-2600.

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