Curtains Up on Ma Ma

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A little film that packs a punch.

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If anyone has a free few hours this weekend I suggest you go to the Cinema Du Parc where they are holding the 8th Annual Festival of Latino American Cinema. They are playing a fine small film that came out in 2015 that didn’t make much of an impact here and that is director Julio Medem’s Ma Ma. It’s a shame that many international films get overlooked. Films like this sneak in under the radar and hopefully get seen at tests like this.

Ma Ma stars Penelope Cruz as Magda, a teacher whose professor husband is sleeping with one of his students. After Magda is diagnosed with cancer, she takes her teenage son and leaves her husband. She connects emotionally and later romantically with soccer scout named Auturo, who is going through an emotional crisis of his own.

Be warned, cynics.  Don’t attend this film if you have a heart of stone. This is a melodrama. This is a tearjerker. This knows what it is and makes no arguments about it. You will cry because it does its job well. People will complain that it’s sappy and manipulative but so what? Movies and manipulation go hand in hand.  This works because Penelope Cruz gives it her all and it’s worth the admission price. There is something about her in Ma Ma that is crazily accessible. Yes she is the glamorous, Spanish movie star but she can also be the cute and humble woman next door.  Here she plays a woman who is beat down by love and cancer. But she pulls through it all with such dignity that if ever they do an Ameircan remake of this, no actress will hold a candle to Cruz.

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