Triple feature Dear Comrades!, Quo vadis, Aida? and La Llorona for an International-shortlisted cinematic smorgasbord about the maternal interplay between the personal and the political, specifically when the political becomes familially personified.
Dear Comrades! depicts the most oppositional relationship between the personal and the political: it chronicles how a mother’s politics and political actions — she’s a higher-up amongst her political party’s movers and shakers — change (or don’t) when her daughter’s personal politics and political actions define her as a potentially-fatal political opponent.
Meanwhile, Quo vadis, Aida? parallels Aida’s focus on saving her family with her inability to rescue the rest of her fellow, beleaguered townsfolk. There’s only so much she can do, but she still prioritizes her kin over “others”. It can be chalked up to, “If I can only salvage a few, it might as well be my loved ones”, which isn’t an objective offense, but the situation still raises questions regarding the conflicts between the personal and the political for those with even a smidge of power. Is it human nature or animal nature to stick by your own, and how do these dueling natures (…are they dueling?) relate to the political travesties on display all around them?
And then there’s La Llorona, in which a daughter is finally forced to reckon with her father’s horrific politics — and their real-world ramifications — only after the consequences consume their personal lives (and, perhaps, after he murdered the father of her own child). Like the other two women, she kept the thorniness of politics at an unhealthy remove, until their personal implications uproot her life. But by then, it’s too late; once the political damage starts to incur, it becomes an uncontrollable fire that overwhelms everyone, personally.