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Criticism of ‘Matria’, prize for best debut at the Malaga Festival

Álvaro Gago Díaz won applause in Berlin with his ‘Matria’ before winning the award for best first film at the Malaga Festival.

    Halfway between the raw realism of the Dardenne brothers and the didactic thrust of Ken Loach’s cinema, ‘Matria’ dissects the daily life of Ramona, a 42-year-old woman trapped between the lack of job opportunities, the slab imposed by a patriarchal society and community life (in a Galician village) in which anonymity does not seem to exist. Although the greatest merit of the filmmaker Álvaro Gago Díaz consists in making palpable a question that transcends the social drama and that has to do with Ramona’s fiery temperamentwho puts his personal dignity before everything else, even when his life path appears full of contradictions.

    To compose this fast-paced female portrait, Gago Díaz counts as his main asset the work of the interpreter from Vigo María Vázquez, who dazzles in her multiple registers: managing her stream of voice like Anna Magnani, weaving together smiles and anguished glances with the virtuosity of Juliette Binoche, or filling the film’s few dead times with silent and emotional howls of freedom. A true acting feast.

    For fans of the social drama made to the rhythm of a thriller

    The best: the shots held over Ramona’s face.

    The worst: the fatalistic drive takes away some of the suspense from the story.


    Address: Alvaro Gago Diaz Distribution: María Vázquez, Santi Prego, Soraya Luaces, Tatán, Susana Sampedro Country: Spain Year: 2023 Release date: 24–3-2023 Gender: Drama Script: Alvaro Gago Diaz Duration: 99 min.

    Synopsis: Ramona, a forty-year-old woman, lives in a tense and precarious work and personal context in a town on the Galician coast. She juggles multiple jobs to stay afloat and provide a better future for her daughter Her Star. But when Estrella is ready to go her own way, Ramona realizes that she, for the first time, can do something for herself.

    Source: Fotogramas

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