Goodbye Mama, Farewell Mom

by Marianne Wi

Director : Michelle Bonev was born in Bulgaria on the 1st October 1971, after a poor and tough childhood she made her way to Italy, where she has been working as a bit part actress, screenwriter, entrepreneur. Bonev has appeared in small roles in a number of films and mini series for TV, The Passion of Christ directed by Mell Gibson in 2004 being the most famous. This is her first feature film  as a director and is a production funded in theory by Bulgaria and Italy…… CONTROVERSY is the word best describing everything about this film.

Goodbye Mama, Farewell Mom was first mentioned at the Venice Film Festival 2010, where Bonev received the prestigious and much sought after “Action for Woman ” award…….an award dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. No me neither and as it turned out it was fabricated especially for Bonev after pressure was brought to bear on the Festival Organisers by non other than the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Minister of Cultural sidekick Sando Bondi, cannot wait to see who will be the lucky recipient at this years award ceremony, let’s rejoice while we can in the fact that at least Bonev is not a minor.

The controversy does not stop there, the Bulgarian Film Institute has been up in arms over the funding of this film, it would appear that BGN 300,000 was handed over by the already stretched Institute before a script had been produced and the rumored sale of the film to RAI for 1 EURO has not helped matters. Alexander Donev, who was head of the National Film Institute has resigned his position together with the Deputy Cultural Minister Dimitar Derelviev, they took a 40 strong delegation to Venice to oversee the award ceremony, it has been confirmed recently by Bonev that she herself footed the entire bill amounting to 3 million euros, as she wanted her proud countrymen at the festivities. I think you will agree this is a “LADY” with connections. Enough controversy I hear you say? No, there is more, Bonev claim this is an autobiographical film based on her family, something they are strongly disputing back home in Bulgaria stating that it is pure nonsense.

See Trailer

Cast : Michelle Bonev, Tatyana Lolova, Licia Nunez, Nadia Konakchieva, Marta Yaneva, Julian Vergov, Vesselina Panova, Maria Giuseppe Corasaniti, Petia Silianova, Ilka Zafirova, Neither Bakalowa, Vyara Kolarova

Synobisi : A family drama involving a mother, two daughters and a grandmother with Alzheimer, we follow this small group over four decades starting in the cold winter of 2005 in Bulgaria. We are introduced to Teodora (Nadia Konakchieva) who has been asked to go and pay a visit on her grandmother (Tatyana Lolova) who it is discovered is being ill-treated in a Bulgarian home for the elderly. Jana (Michelle Bonev) has abandoned her mother in an institution, that would appear after some research on the internet to be less than ideal for healing, as no one seem to leave the place alive. Jana is after her mother’s property and is seeking revenge for past mistakes made by her, a rescue operation is mounted led by Elena (Marta Yaneva) with the help of a Lawyer called Virginia (Licia Nunez) and Teodora .

SPOILER ALERT : In the final scene it is indicated that Elena (Marta Yaneva) is Bonev herself, the savior of her little sister and now also the grandmothers heroine. The 3 ladies I sat next to in the cinema missed this final information all together. It is interesting to note that both Bonev and Nunez have used the same inexperienced plastic surgeon and Botox  injector, no expressions were detected on either actresses during the entire film. Not actually that bad a film as such, a great story line although moving backwards and forwards between the years became tiresome, it was well shot, and without Boven whose skills as an actress are non-existent, painful and toe curling to watch, it would have been so much more enjoyable. The grandmother played by Tatyana Lolova was truly awesome a great performance and should be up for Best Supporting Actress at the David di Donatello awards.

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