Good mother: Of noise, fury, giggles and sweetness (critique)

Good mother: noise, fury, laughter and sweetness (critique)

Director Hafsia Herzi takes it up a notch from a more square scenario than You deserve a love.

Two years later You deserve a love, Hafsia Herzi confirmed in the summer of 2021, and brilliantly, the hopes placed in it. She presented her second achievement, Good motherat the Cannes Film Festival that year, in the Un Certain Regard selection, revealing in passing a superb actress, Halima Benhamed, chosen for the main role while she accompanied her daughter to the casting.

We are sharing our enthusiastic review below, as Arte schedules Good motherin the second part of the evening (it is also available in streaming on the channel's website), just after Gloria Mundi, by Robert Guédiguian. Ready for this special cinema evening in the city of Marseille?

Hafsia Herzi: “You deserve a love was born from a compelling need to film”

It was to be his very first feature, inspired by his mother. And then the slow pace of financing pushed her to launch into You deserve a loveto satisfy his compelling need to film. Good mother is therefore Hafsia Herzi's second feature and the experience she has gained has obviously nourished this project.

Because the director goes up a notch based on a more straightforward scenario than You deserve a love, but always crossed by what makes his strength: his ability to let life invade the screen as if his camera did not exist for his actors (all insane). And this both in the explosive chat scenes and in the calmer, sadder, more melancholic moments that she allows herself more.

Noise, fury, laughter and sweetness: this is how to describe the cinema of Hafsia Herzi, who establishes herself as an author in her own right in just two films. “As long as I stand, I will stand strong”, says her heroine. A word that takes on its full meaning to define this mother of a large family from the northern districts of Marseille, a cleaning lady who watches like a she-wolf over a tribe rich in sharp personalities and temporarily amputated a son in prison. Good mother is the portrait of this resistance fighter who bends but does not break.

The look that Hafsia Herzi casts on her is overwhelmingly human but devoid of angelism. The same goes for her other characters to whom she passes nothing, without judging them, and telling through a predominantly feminine prism these neighborhoods that the cinema has mainly shown via male figures. His film bubbles but never moves in vain.

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