"Mother of George..." (A Review.)
Written by Shawn Peters.
Mother of George is the story of Adineke; a woman dealing with the inevitability of her “biological clock,” and the pressure of a culture that still believes that a woman’s inability to bare children for her husband is a crime against her family. Adineke against increasing pressure from her mother in law is forced to entertain drastic solutions to her problem.
Andrew Dosunmu is an artist. He is a constant consumer of fine art, photography, film and music. You don’t have to spend much time with him to tell that his artistic references are layered, deep, and universal. You get the sense that Dosunmu throughout the film is in conversation with many art forms simultaneously. In this sense, Mother of George is an artistic practice that frames culture and character in a very deliberate way and extends beyond reality towards the creation of a cultural Stereoscope or View Master that takes us through the story of this struggling immigrant couple in tableau form.
Isaach De Bankolé.
This being his second feature, (see “Restless City.”) Director Dosunmu and cinematographer Bradford Young (“Pariah,” “Vara: A Blessing”) build yet another visual masterpiece interweaving light and color in a way reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai and Christopher Doyle’s stunning love story; “In the Mood for Love.” As a cinematographer, I was taken by the use of color up against and coming out of darkness alluding to the Dutch Impressionist masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Andrew and Bradford alongside art director Lucio Seixas, used all of the color materials at their desposal, including the deep dark skin tone of the characters. Indigo, Gold, and Red are the colors placed against the context of dark brown skin in the same way they are used in the mythos and religion of the Yuroba culture in which the main characters come from. All people create mythos through the use of the theater of aesthetic as an important part of propagating culture. A universal tool that Andrew Dosunmu and his creative team, use very well.
Dosunmu’s camera pans slowly or stays still for most of the film and allows the viewer to really take in the acting in context to story and space. Without a lot of movement and dialogue the story is really reliant on the standout acting performances of Danai Gurira, Isaac De Bankole, and Bukky Ajayi. Along with being a visual gem; Mother of George, is at it’s core another wonderfully conceived heartwarming Brooklyn story, one that should not be missed.
“Mother of George” opens tomorrow.
Shawn Peters is a contributing writer for By Such and Such, as well as an established cinematographer.