Quick Thoughts: Mother Of George (2013)
A newlywed couple struggle to conceive a child.
Technically brilliant, Mother Of George is masterfully directed with precise and expressive cinematic language, framing and mise en scene, moreover, a great use of shallow focus, lighting and colour – all of which is supported by a powerful lead performance.
This narrative explores the anxieties and pressures of paternity, maternity and fertility in Nigerian culture, following a couple who cannot conceive – in all probability, due to the husband. Refusing to go to the doctor, he leaves his wife pressurised by her in-laws until she’s talked into conceiving with his brother. This is a paradigm depicted in other films, such as The Patience Stone, leaving Mother Of George another depiction of pride and the dehumanising aspects of traditions that rigidly demand conformity to societal standards and expectations of family.
Though this is a poignant topic that is impressively projected through a highly cinematic story, Mother Of George does suffer from pacing issues, leaving it a slow and sometimes arduous watch.
What this film is then a demonstration of is the line between simple storytelling and uninteresting storytelling. As we discussed with Paterson, a brilliant example of a realist film with a very thin plot, “story” is simply an idea of information. The best stories are judged by the quality, not necessarily the quantity, of the information they provide. When we look to Mother Of George, we have a film that has a good amount of compelling information about culture and tradition. However, there is a lack of commentary or depth added to this information, leaving it sparsely distributed through a story that has too much of a focus on aesthetics rather than “story”.
With that said, I’d happily concede that Mother Of George sits on the positive side of this divide between simple stories and boring stories (rather than on the boring side – as I’ve implied). This is of course because the themes explored throughout this narrative will be subjectively perceived. So it’s then at this point that I’ll end by asking, have you see this movie? What are your thoughts?
L’Atalante – Unspectacularity
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