A boy faces away from the camera, dialing his mother’s voicemail again and again in order to hear her voice one more time. Not yet over his mother’s death, Adam clings to everything he has left of her. His father is already starting to move on and is about to give away his wife’s clothes. In an attempt to get them back, Adam finds the strength to carry on in a place devoid of life: the desert.
SEAWEED (Program 1) by Liel Simon is one of several films at the festival that deal with the loss of someone’s mother. In an unnerving voice-over, TODAY’S SUNLIGHT FALLS WEAKLY ON YOU (Program 6) by Lim Yuzheng also depicts the extent to which the protagonist misses her mother. Her parents’ empty home and the loneliness felt by the main character are conveyed in calm, atmospheric black-and-white images. Orin Kadoori’s KINSHIP (program 10) shows the extent to which a mother’s death can change the relationship between a father and his daughter. The latter, a young adult, is completely fixated on her dad, and when he starts seeing a new woman, she clings ever more obsessively to the only parent she has left.
Today's sunlight falls weakly on you
Director Tomas Ponsteen never met his biological mother. In his documentary SON (Program 8), he works through his guilt over not wanting to search for her. “Why should I go looking for you?” he asks, before meeting with a mother who had to put her child up for adoption. Her pain causes him to reconsider his attitude.
In the documentary LISTEN TO MY VOICE (Program 4), director Zohar Orian Cohen also deals with her family history. Abused by her father as a child and not taken seriously by her mother when she made accusations, she is now trying to improve her relationship with her mother as an adult. Many of the conversations focus on the mother’s inability to take responsibility for what happened — a precisely and painfully drawn family portrait. MOM’S POTATOES (Program 6) by Lili Zahavi also depicts a family situation in which the mother is unable to fulfill her role as protector. Plagued by mental-health issues, she becomes a burden to her son, Robin, who attempts to look after his little brother, Felix. But Robin, himself an aimless teenager, soon reaches his limits.
Listen to my voice
Sarah in Ruby Challenger’s MUMLIFE (program 3) is also overwhelmed by her role as a new mother and finds it difficult to bond with her baby. This film packs the taboo subject of postpartum depression into colorful musical numbers that make the discrepancy between society’s expectations and her own turbulent emotions all the more palpable.