Materna‘s original release date was back in 2020 at the canceled Tribeca Film Festival. It is the directorial debut for director David Guntik. In the past, he was the editor for many acclaimed smaller films. Films that have appeared at the Sundance film festival.
The anthology film tells the story of four women who feel different impacts from a physical altercation on the subway. After the incident occurs. the film shows and explores each of their daily lives through separate little stories.
Guntik does a fine job with his directorial debut with shooting everything and making it looking nice. There’s a particularly great shot in the opening train sequence. Gutnik blurs out the characters behind his protagonists to show how uncomfortable and nervous the latter are. Sadly, none of the other scenes in the film reach the tension of the opening train sequence. It explores only the surface level only issues like loneliness. The same goes for the way it tackles the life of someone from a different ethnicity.
Opening in the film is the first short story that follows Jean (Kate Lyn Sheil). She has a very independent life. She spends her days laying around and arguing over the phone with her mother about her social life. Meanwhile, on occasion, she uses virtual reality for stimulated sex. When Jean becomes pregnant the topic then becomes whether or not should she raise a child. That’s especially true with her being all alone, if getting an abortion the right thing to do. The opening story is easily the most interesting. It paints a picture of the nervousness that we can associate with having a relationship.
The next sequence of the film focuses on actress Mona (Jade Eshete). She currently has a complex relationship with her mother who is a Jehovah’s Witness. Mona’s mother would like her to quit acting and pursue religion more. This creates the complication of pursuing your dreams well to being loyal to your mother. One of the final stories follows Perizaad (Assol Abdullina). She is returning to her homeland of the Middle East after her father’s death.
Well, all of the acting is good here and again, Gutnik shoots everything on screen well. However, none of the stories besides the first one leave much of a lasting impact. It is easy to see what Guntik was going for in the film. He uses each of the different stories serving as social commentary. But most of the stories touch on the issues at hand so lightly. You don’t end up taking that much away from the film in the end.