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Dhalia raises Cosmo, her 2-year-old child. Lala is Dhalia’s mother, an ethnobotanist in charge of the Botanical Gardens in Mexico’s University. Lala experiences some disturbing moments and Dhalia realizes something is wrong with her mother.
María NOVARO, who had been to the 3rd International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul with Without a Trace, the so-called Mexican “Thelma and Louise,” is back this time with The Good Herbs, a story about a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and the daughter looking on. Dhalia, who works for an alternative radio station, is a single mom, raising her young son. Her emotional anchor is her mother, Lala, who is an ethno-botanist in charge of the Botanical Gardens in Mexico’s university. Lala is also a divorcee and has been living on her own for a long time. Independent women’s strength is memorable in this film, and non-narrative motifs of herbal remedies of the pre-Columbian Mexican tradition are intercut between the mother and the daughter’s feelings and emotions.
This unique combination of family tragedy narrative and magical realism by María NOVARO avoids the tragic and melodramatic route. Instead, she mixes the eco-feministic sense of sovereignty and independence in strong images of women, the sharing of women’s secretive life. (HONG So-in)
Maria NOVAROMaria NOVARO
The most successful female director of Mexican cinema, Maria NOVARO studied Sociology and then Film at the National University of Mexico. International attention was drawn to her with her first student film An Island Surrounded by Water (1984) that won several prizes and was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Good Herbs is her fifth full-length feature, and it won 8 awards at the Guadalajara Film Festival in Mexico.