‘Acquaintance with Grief’: Filmmaking as Mourning and Recognition in Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre

Part of the Italian and Italian American Studies book series (IIAS)


In this chapter, Benini examines Nanni Moretti’s relationship with grief in his latest movie Mia madre, produced in 2015. Moving from a diaristic imprinting, Moretti projects his mourning onto a female figure, the filmmaker Margherita, creating two intersecting triangles of characters. One triangle is a female genealogy between the mother, Ada, the daughter, Margherita, and the granddaughter, Livia. The second triangle consists of Moretti’s own diffracted alter-egos: Margherita, her brother Giovanni and her most prominent actor, Barry Huggins, with an interesting gender roles’ inversion between Margherita and her brother, who is the mother’s caretaker. Margherita lives in a liminal dimension porous to the intermittences of memory, imagination, and the subconscious. Moretti creates oneiric sequences that are uncannily real, giving the sense of a present enmeshed with the memories of the past and the fear for the future. Notwithstanding the dimension of the tragedy to come, Moretti welcomes grief as an awakening to a future full of awareness and pietas. Moretti’s stance is that of a classical elegy, and his relationship with the mother is like his relationship to the Classics: a legacy not to be lost, but cherished and embraced.


Nanni Moretti Margherita Buy Loss Recognition Pietas Mourning 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Joseph’s UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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