La Pietà is a key work of Italian Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, made in Carrara marble for Cardinal Jean de Bilhères’ funeral… Ergh, sorry wrong file! Instead, LA PIETÀ is a key work of strange, wonderfully bold BIFFF cinema by Álex de la Iglesia protégé Eduardo Casanova about a boy well into his 20’s who just can’t move out of Casa Mama. He’s got the stamina and the determination of a kidney bean, so it’s his mother who is calling all the shots. And that’s just the way she likes it, slowly smothering him with the cloth of motherly love. Until her son is diagnosed with cancer and their little world comes crumbling down. Any similarities with Michelangelo’s Holy Mother Mary with a dying Jesus lying in her arms are of course no coincidence. Meanwhile, back in communist North-Korea the government feeds the population poisoned strawberries as a birth control measure. Casanova’s previous feature PIELES – which took the expression “talking through your ass” a little too literally – was already really bizarre. Here we’re sucked into a claustrophobic, off-kilter melodrama in lavish though clinical interiors and campy fashion that bring to mind Todd Haynes’ SAFE, Almodóvar’s flamboyance mixed with the extraterrestrial coldness of UNDER THE SKIN. Talkin’ about Almo, lead actress Ángela Molina – muy famosa in Spain – appeared a few times in front of his camera, for LIVE FLESH and BROKEN EMBRACES, and can now add one of her greatest roles, as the pathologically overprotective madre Libertad, to her resume!

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