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While in her emotional debut film, Journey to a Mother’s Room [+], the director from Seville portrayed motherly love in a daughter’s youth, in her new film, Rico continues to explore the complexity of mother-daughter relationships. This time at another stage of the daughter’s life: when she is already independent. But despite this, she is still deeply attached to the bond with her mother, as delicate as it is mysterious. Following the intimate, simple and honest style of the previous film, through everyday life, the director tells what happens between a mother and a daughter when the latter temporarily returns to the family home some time after having left. The reversal of roles with the mother’s illness, the daughter’s feeling of guilt for not always being there, the generational clash, the reproaches for unfulfilled expectations, the fear of being judged or of doing harm, the loneliness of both.

The film is therefore an honest and beautiful portrait of the family as an ambiguous place of security, but also of vulnerability, of the mother-daughter bond as a kind of unresolved tension between that unchosen love that is expected to be unconditional and the bond that it implies. What is interesting about the film is how it manages to reach this depth and achieve the tone it seeks from an inner gaze. Through the meticulousness of detail, through everyday glances and gestures, through silences, absences and off-camera, through what is not said more than what is said. Also, through recreating spaces, clothes and objects of sentimental memory (objects such as that portable table that reflects this meeting between past and present) and the specific phrases that in an almost veiled way manage to say a lot. «It’s as if you were married to your mother,» another character in the film says with some humour, referring to the ring inherited from her father that the daughter wears. One of the best things about the film is in these revealing moments of true intimacy, which María Vázquez and Adriana Ozores manage to make their own, with their naturalness and closeness.

In Little Loves Celia Rico once again shows us the narrative capacity of cinema without the need for great artifice, what details and small everyday conflicts disclose about ourselves. An intimate and moving portrait of mother-daughter love told with delicacy and humanity. About love as a blend of tenderness and anguish, about learning to love also from those insurmountable distances that separate us from the other.

Little Loves is a co-production between Spain and France by the companies Arcadia, Viracocha Films AIE and Noodles Production, sold abroad by Latido Films.

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