Member Profile | FocusFeatures.com
Posted July 12, 2010 to photo album "Movie Mothers"
To coincide with the release of The Kids Are All Right, Nick Dawson looks at the trials, tribulations and triumphs of mothers on the big screen over the course of film history.
Slide 2: Mother (1926)
Russian filmmaker Vsevolod Pudovkin’s 1926 Mother – based on Maxim Gorky’s novel Mat – is possibly the first major film to explore the perils and problems of maternity. Set against the backdrop of the 1905 Russian Revolution, Mother centers on Pelageya Nilovna Vlasova, a woman who family loyalty is wrenched in two directions when her husband Vlasov and son Pavel Vlasov take different sides in a worker’s strike. After her husband is killed, Pelegaya’s actions unintentionally lead to her son being unjustly sent to a prison camp, and from this point on her one goal becomes to save Pavel’s life – at any cost. She allies herself to Pavel’s cause and becomes part of a group who try to free him and his fellow revolutionaries. However, the attempted breakout fails and both mother and son are killed in the process. Describing Pelegaya’s fearless demise in the film’s climax in a Senses of Cinema essay, Cara Marisa Deleon writes, “When the demonstration becomes violent, the flag, symbolizing their cause, is dropped by its slain holder. The title character takes up the flag and stands motionless against the soldiers as tears roll down her steadfast face in a moment of supposed realization regarding the cause. The camera shoots her profile in a close-up; then, within the frame, the fluttering flag obscures her face, symbolically displaying the unification of mother and revolution. She walks towards the advancing soldiers, who trample her to death.”