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MOTHER OF TEARS ($20) is writer/director Dario Argento’s final film in his three mothers trilogy that began with SUSPIRIA and continued with INFERNO. Argento fans will find that the Italian master has not lost his touch in all the intervening years between the first installment and the last. The premise of MOTHER OF TEARS is concerned with Sarah Mandy (Asia Argento), who is studying art restoration at the Museum of Ancient Art in Rome. When an artifact unearthed from a grave outside a cemetery is delivered to the museum, Sarah and another overzealous scholar open it. Inside the artifact they discover relics supposedly belonging to a witch known as Mater Lachrimarum (Moran Atias) AKA the Mother of Tears.

Of course, opening the sealed artifact also restores the powers of Mater Lachrimarum. Soon other witches begin flocking to Rome, while the local populaces are driven to violence, madness and suicide. Sarah also finds herself being stalked by the assemblage of witches, not to mention police Detective Enzo Marchi (Cristian Solimeno). Looking for a way to set things right, Sarah seeks out Padre Johannes (Udo Kier) and soon learns that her deceased mother Elisa (Daria Nicolodi) was a white witch and that she has inherited her mother’s powers. As expected, MOTHER OF TEARS comes to an inevitable showdown between Sarah Mater Lachrimarum. Argento has filled MOTHER OF TEARS with both gruesome and beautiful imagery not the least of which includes the very beautiful Moran Atias, as the very naked Mater Lachrimarum.

The Weinstein Company via its Dimension Extreme label and Genius Products has made MOTHER OF TEARS available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. MOTHER OF TEARS is offered in a great looking transfer that delivers a sharp, nicely detailed standard definition picture. Colors have good saturating and appear stable, plus the DVD produces appealing flesh tones. Blacks are deep and the whites appear crisp. Both contrast and shadow detail quite good. The film elements used for the transfer are free from blemishes, plus there is little apparent grain. Digital compression artifacts remain under the radar.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is solidly mixed, and features a sound design with plenty of atmosphere, plus some well placed directional effects. Also, when required, the mix delivers its share of zingers to emphasize on screen shocks. The forward soundstage gets the most play, with good channel separation and definite left-right panning of effects. As for the surround channels, they primarily provide richly atmospheric ambient sounds, as well as musical fill. Dialogue is cleanly reproduced and is always intelligible. The bass channel is solid, but never overwhelming. No other language tracks are provided, but English and Spanish subtitles have been included.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. The Making Of Mother Of Tears is mostly in Italian, as is A Conversation With Legendary Filmmaker Dario Argento. Italian & English Trailers close out the extras.

With its overwrought horror imagery, MOTHER OF TEARS finds director Dario Argento back in form his third chapter of the Three Mothers trilogy. The SD DVD looks and sounds very good, but I’d like to see Argento’s works in high definition. Still, if you are an Argento fan, you’ll want to check out MOTHER OF TEARS on DVD. Recommended.



Mother of Tears (2007)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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