– Las niñas by Pilar Palomero have grown up and in this too long and not always successful marriage of fiction and reality they face the social problem of early pregnancies
Carla Quílez and Ángela Cervantes in The maternal
If the dreaded second film syndrome exists, he certainly suffers from it The maternal [+leggi anche:
intervista: Pilar Palomero
scheda film]the new work of Pilar Palomero after the award-winning Las niñas [+leggi anche:
intervista: Pilar Palomero
scheda film]: some of the expectations placed on this film are disappointed, especially due to an excessive duration for a plot that would require some editing cuts.
This feature film, in the running for the Golden Shell in the official section of the 70th San Sebastian Film Festival, addresses, as the title indicates – without risk of spoilers – the social problem of early pregnancies. The protagonist herself, 14 years old, is too immature to face this responsibility and the change of life and habits that it entails. But she will be received in a reception center where other girls face the same problem.
The maternal it is therefore a film that portrays a terrible reality; to do this, Palomero consulted girls who really lived through that experience and put them in front of his camera, assigning them a secondary role in the plot: but it is in that excess of faith in the truthful statements of all of them that The film is shipwrecked, running aground in a couple of scenes in which the girls talk in front of the lens to tell their maternal and sentimental experiences. Those documentary moments slow down a fiction that instead reaches great peaks of emotion when the image is used more than the dialogue.
For example, the moment in which the obviously pregnant protagonist wishes – as a girl she still is – to enjoy an amusement park or the disapproving look that a saleswoman gives her when she discovers her swollen belly: here the skilful director demonstrates his knack for giving those fresh, subtle brushstrokes they made Las niñas a hit two years ago.
Even that film opened and closed with two model scenes, full of symbolism and meaning: in The maternalthe first sequence shows something that conditions the fragile sex life of today’s young people (what sex education do they receive? and how?), and the last one brings together a mother and daughter who had been distant for the rest of the film.
To the rhythm of reggaeton and the songs of Estopa, The maternal reveals to the cinema a great little force of nature (the newcomer Carla Quilez), with a torrential personality and a strong character (“What a tough guy you are!” says an educator who seems to have read the viewer’s mind), confronted in various scenes with Angela Cervantesin the role of the mother (also single): two human beings who can be so similar… that they can’t stand it.
The maternal is a production of Inicia Films, Bteam Prods and Barrixica AIE. Its international sales are handled by the French agency Elle Driver.
(Translated from Spanish)