23 May 2006 | toddsolley63
Rotten at the Core
It is ironic that the protagonist in "Ma Mere" evolves from a "believer" into an "agnostic" after the tutelage in depravity offered him by his mother. Ironic, because certainly if ever there were a film that inspired--demanded--moral judgement upon its characters, it is this one (all the more so, when one views the alternate ending on the DVD). And yet, the message of the film (if there is really any) is that there is no place for judgement--or any hope of redemption. This turns a rather pornographic character study into a third rate tragedy. I remember the grave controversy that erupted over Bertolucci's "Luna" in 1979. How open minded (or, how low we have sunk, depending on your take on the matter) we have become as filmgoers that "Ma Mere" hardly caused a ripple. Indeed it is "Luna" to the tenth power. Although the plot does little more than provide a reason for the cast to engage in fornication, incest, homosexuality, domination, abuse, flaying (sort of), etc., Isabelle Huppert as the mother, and Louis Garrell as her son, are excellent (and beautiful)--as usual. That they have lent their talents to camouflaged exploitation can best be described as "unwise", though some critics have called it "courageous." "The pleasure only begins when the worm is in the fruit", the mother tells her son at one point in the picture. You can be sure this fruit is rotten at the core.