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Film / Madre

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Madre is a 2018 short film (19 minutes) from Spain, directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.

Marta is a young mother who, as the film opens is at home with her own mother. Dialogue indicates that she is a divorcee and that her six-year-old son Ivan is on vacation with his father in France. While she's getting ready to go out she gets a phone call from Ivan. Events rapidly go from mundane to terrifying when Marta learns that Ivan is on the beach all alone. It seems that his father went off to their RV for Ivan's toy and hasn't come back, and Ivan has been left abandoned. Things get scarier still when Ivan, who doesn't know which beach in France they're on, sees a strange man.



  • Book Ends: Identical lonely shots of an empty, windswept beach at the beginning and end of the film.
  • The Oner: There's a cut in the beginning as the film goes from an intro of a lonely beach to Marta's apartment. There's a cut near the end to Marta's mother as Marta leaves the apartment, then a final cut to that same shot of a lonely beach. That's all the cuts there are. The rest of the movie, nearly all of its run time, follows Marta without a cut as she paces back and forth growing progressively more frantic while talking to her son.
  • Real Time: No time skips in the film.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out anything—what happened to the father, what happened to little Ivan, where in France he was, who the man on the beach was and what if anything he was up to. Instead the film ends with Marta tearing out of the apartment, determined to drive all the way to the French coast.
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  • The Voice: Little Ivan, whose entire presence in the film is a frightened voice on the phone as the camera never leaves Marta. Later there's a second voice when Marta calls an extremely unhelpful emergency dispatcher who tells Marta she needs to file a police report.