Short Film Review: MOTHER CORN

2014 SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS SELECTION!
Unrated
16 minutes

***

“Mother Corn” is the story of an orphaned teenage girl who lives with her grandmother among the Triqui Indians in Mexico. The girl loves her grandmother and wants to make her happy by upholding Triqui tradition. She wears the traditional clothing and helps her grandmother make and sell cornhusk dolls. But she refuses to speak the native language because it isn’t considered cool amongst her peers. That’s just the beginning of her attempt to distinguish herself from the old woman who raised her. But with every step she takes away from Triqui culture, she breaks her grandmother’s heart a little bit more.

To add intrigue to the otherwise relatively simple narrative, there is a mystery surrounding what happened to the girl’s mother. The girl is always asking to visit her mother’s grave and her grandmother always makes excuses as to whey they cannot go or changes the subject. When the girl begins experiencing spiritual visions, she questions her reality and where it is she truly belongs.

“Mother Corn” takes a little while to get into, but once the girl’s visions intensify, director Guillermo Lecuona invokes the work of fellow Guillermo (del Toro) creating a supernatural element that is at once captivating and disturbing. The performances from both the girl and grandmother are very natural and moving.

The ending feels a little unresolved but perhaps that is just because I’d like to see more of Lecuona’s fantastical narrative. A title designer by trade, this guy has a very electrifying vision and I hope that “Mother Corn” is successful enough to get him behind the camera once more.

Originally published on FilmThreat.com (now defunct).

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