Mother of George

 

Mother of George

Written by Darci Picoult

Cinematography by Bradford Young

Production Design: Lucio Seixas

Costume Design: Mobolaji Dawodu

Film Editing: Oriana Soddu

Music: Phillip Miller

Produced by Lars Knudsen, et al

Directed by Andrew Dosunmu

2013

 

Cast:

Danai Gurira

Isaach De Bankole

Yaya Alafia (DeCosta)

Anthony Okungbowa

Bukky Ajaya

Angelique Kidjo

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Part & Labor and Ajiwe Fun Orisha

Video: Oscilloscope Labs

 

Video:

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD50

Bit Rate: High (ca. 33 Mbps)

Runtime: 107 min

Chapters: 17

Region: All

 

Audio

English & Yoruba DTS-HD MA 5.1

English & Yoruba LPCM 2.0

 

Subtitles:  Optional English

 

Extras:

• Feature-length audio commentary with director Andrew Dosunmu, editor Oriana Soddu, and costume designer Mobolaji Dawodu

A Human Story - a short program featuring interviews with star Danai Gurira and screenwriter/producer Darci Picoult and behind the scenes footage - in HD (19:10)

• Seven deleted scenes w/ Play all - in HD (8:35)

• Theatrical Trailer

 

Presentation:

Custom Gatefold Case

Release Date: February 4, 2014



Synopsis [Oscilloscope]

Adenike and Ayodele (The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira and veteran actor Isaach De Bankolé) are a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn. Following the joyous celebration of the their wedding, complications arise out of their inability to conceive a child - a problem that devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leading Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save her family or destroy it. Acclaimed director Andrew Dosumnu (Restless City) captures the nuances of this unique and fascinating culture by creating a beautiful, vibrant, and moving portrait of a couple whose joys and struggles are at once intimate and universal.


                   

 

Critical Reaction:

Los Angeles Times

"Mother of George" is an unexpected gem about true love, infertility and a meddling mother-in-law. The couple under duress is part of Brooklyn's close-knit Nigerian immigrant community. Not a side of that borough we usually see. But it is the kind of distinctive, culture-driven drama from emerging filmmakers that I wish we saw more of. Darci Picoult's screenplay is refreshingly spare and alive with energy in director Andrew Dosunmu's hands. Despite their best efforts, 18 months after the wedding there is still no baby. Adenike's mother-in-law (Bukky Ajayi) presses a bitter tea, a visit to a shaman, and the idea of letting her son take another woman. This does not sit well. The film keeps circling around the clash over cultural mores. Desperation leads the young woman to a fertility doctor. For Ayodele, his very identity is wrapped up in his ability to give his wife children. The family's resistance to even discussing medical options triggers a ripple effect no one expects. And then Adenike finds that she is expecting. But like a wheel within a wheel, the pregnancy only compounds the difficult family dynamic. – Betsy Sharkey


                   


The A.V. Club

Like [Rama Burshtein’s] recent Fill the Void, with which it shares a gauzy digital aesthetic, Mother Of George explores the marital pressures put on members of a hermetic subculture—in this case, African immigrants scraping by in New York City. In that sense, it’s admirably specific, but the richness of detail doesn’t really extend to the characters themselves. Provided with problems and desires, not quirks of personality or interior lives, Gurira and De Bankolé are defined almost exclusively by the single conflict burdening their marriage (and by the unfortunate “solution” arrived upon). The actors are both superb, conveying suppressed feeling through falters in their perpetual poker faces. (De Bankolé is particularly gifted at this form of through-clenched-jaw emoting.) But the movie sometimes distracts from its performances, drowning the material in a lot of gorgeous but ostentatious style. – A. A. Dowd


                   

 

Variety

Simply relating the narrative of Andrew Dosunmu's seductive immigrant drama "Mother of George" would do little to convey the film's stark, poetic power, much less its extraordinary visual and sonic acumen. Steeping the audience from the very first frame in the rich textures and bustling rhythms of Brooklyn’s Yoruba community, Dosunmu doesn’t use such iridescent local color merely to dress up this classically structured melodrama about a young wife driven to social ruin by infertility, but to provide a suitably prismatic context for the character’s fluid moods. – Guy Lodge


                   

 

Image: 8/9

Dark people, often in in richly colored costumes, shot in dark shadowy places in blue and purple light, often from behind or from the side. Cinematographer Bradford Young avoids straight-up focus, at times zooming the focus painstakingly over time with the subject in slow motion, often in telephoto close up or fragmentary body parts.  Director Dosunmu goes out of his way to avoid revealing shots of the husband, allowing light to fall on his face directly only once or twice toward the end of the film. The Blu-ray edition is required, not so much for its superior resolution but for its ability to see into all that darkness and reveal subtle distinctions of color.


                   


Audio & Music: 9/9

beautifully, honestly intoned percussion instruments. Clear, well balanced dialogue, whether whispered, intoned, or sung.

Nice surround environmentals, as at the wedding party and kitchens with background commotion in balance, adding natural depth to the soundstage.

 

Extras: 7

Bonus Features include a probing account of the filmmaking process by the director, editor and costume designer on the audio commentary track, and a program featuring interviews with star Danai Gurira and screenwriter/producer Darci Picoult intercutting with behind-the-scenes clips.


                   

 

Recommendation: 8

Writer Darci Picoult and Director Andrew Dosunmu offer a slice of African-American culture (a phrase I use deliberately in this context) that most Americans of any descent do not get a chance to glimpse, but all the same have immediate sympathy for.  Expectations by the family and extended family for children not yet born, let alone conceived, are a part of every culture. It’s a function of our respect for, and fear of, our ancestors as well as our desire for immortality. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Dosunmu is so taken with ritual and avatar. His use of lighting, color, framing and focus supports this but also threatens to become a powerful and antagonistic force of its own, there being too little character or story to pit against it. All the same his film and the performances, especially that of Danai Gurira, are worth our time. Oscilloscope continues its tradition of offering Blu-ray and DVD editions at close to the same price, the former being for more desirable for its ability to draw us in.

 

 

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

February 5, 2014


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