Combustible Celluloid
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With: Asia Argento, Cristian Solimeno, Adam James, Moran Atias, Valeria Cavalli, Philippe Leroy, Daria Nicolodi, Udo Kier, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, Robert Madison, Jun Ichikawa, Tommaso Banfi, Paolo Stella, Clive Riche
Written by: Dario Argento, Jace Anderson, Adam Gierasch, Walter Fasano, Simona Simonetti
Directed by: Dario Argento
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 98
Date: 09/06/2007

Mother of Tears (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Roman Folly

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Dario Argento's Mother of Tears apparently completes a trilogy begun with Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), but fans expecting anything along the lines of those classics had better give up now. However, the new film is so ludicrously awful, so logically impaired, so clumsily written and so haphazardly designed that it's a sheer delight. It may be the festival's worst and most enjoyable film, simultaneously. Argento's daughter Asia stars (in one of three festival films this year) as Sarah, who works in a Roman museum. When a mysterious box arrives and her colleague opens it, evil begins marauding all over the city. People begin killing babies, stabbing one another, or just dressing strange and laughing a lot. (Though whenever Sarah needs to get somewhere, she can usually find a perfectly normal cabbie or train conductor.) It turns out that the "Mother of Tears" has returned to wreak havoc and that only she can stop her. Sarah discovers that her dead mother was actually a powerful witch, and that her mother and father were killed in a similar battle. She may have supernatural powers as well! (Shades of Harry Potter!) There's even an evil monkey! Whenever possible, Argento resorts to old-school special effects with lots of latex, homemade blood and plastic dummies. Ms. Argento puts her acting talent on hold for this one, perhaps reserving it for her other films, but she somehow looks very sexy running around in a black raincoat! Mother of Tears has everything a fan would expect from an Ed Wood or Uwe Boll film, plus extreme gore, gratuitous nudity and lots of neat old libraries. It's Dario's first trip to the SFIFF. May it be the first of many!

DVD Details: The Region 2 DVD releaed by Medusa/Myriad comes only with a trailer. Dimension's US DVD fares much better, featuring the uncut version (four minutes longer), plus a making-of featurette and an interview with director Argento.

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