“Mia Madre: and “Little Men” Open Sept. 2.
Opening in limited release this Friday, Sept. 2 are two small independent films. My favorite is “Mia Madre”
(My Mother) an Italian film by Nanni Moretti, and the other is “Little Men,” set in Brooklyn, New York, starring two fresh-faced kids.
“Mia Madre” stars Margherita Buy as a movie director named Margherita. She is in the middle of shooting a film about worker unrest and rebellion in Italy. Nothing is going right. To add to Margherita’s problems her mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini) is hospitalized with a mysterious malady. Margherita is also having problems with her teenage daughter Livia (Beatrice Mancini) and her son-to-be ex-husband Vittoria (Enrico Lanniello).
If that weren’t trouble enough, her Italian-American star, Barry Huggins (John Turturro) proves to be insufferable and incompetent.
Yes, this is a comedy, but it is also a drama, for poor old Ada is dying. If you like the Italian hyper-dramatic view of life, you may appreciate this movie, which plays exclusively at FAU’s Living Room Theaters.
“Little Men” is about two Brooklyn teenagers who aspire for something better; namely a place at the La Guardia School for the Performing Arts, the school that inspired “Fame.”
Jacob or Jake Jardine (Theo Taplitz) already shows promise as an artist at age 13. His best friend Tony (Michael Barbieri) wants to be an actor.
Jake’s grandfather has just died, leaving his father Brian (Greg Kinnear) with the challenge of suddenly becoming a landlord in a neighborhood that is gentrifying.
Tony’s mother, Leonor Cavelli (Paulina Garcia) is a longtime tenant in one of Brian’s buildings. It is hinted she had an especially cozy relationship with Brian’s father.
The bottom line is Leonor has been paying far less than market value for her little sewing shop. Brian’s wife (Jennifer Ehle) urges him to adjust the rent to reflect true value. Thereby hangs the conflict. Leonor simply can’t afford the rent.
Jake and Tony are dealing not only with the challenges of growing up, but enduring economic changes that challenge their friendship. Ira Sachs (“Love is Strange”) wrote and directs this modern parable of life in the big city.