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Good Mother

1h 39m Social Drama, Immigration, Women, Working class 2021

AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL FOR 3 DAYS: Thursday, June 9, 2022 @ 12:00am PDT → Saturday, June 11 @ 11:59pm PDT

Join Le Professeur Kevin Elstob for a Zoom Discussion about the three films from the 21st SFFF Virtual Program.
MONDAY, JUNE 13 @ 6:30pm PDT:

“As long as I’m still standing, I’ll stay strong” says Nora, a cleaning lady and self-sacrificing mother from a public housing project in the north of Marseille. Just like the Bonne Mère Cathedral towering over Marseille as the city’s benevolent protector, Nora selflessly watches over her clan of adult children, grandchildren, and daughter-in-law who all live together in her small apartment and mostly live off her paychecks. Nora also works tirelessly to help her older son, in jail for robbery and awaiting trial. She never complains, she doesn’t have the time.

The idea of Good Mother has been on director Hafzia Herzi’s mind for several years. Her film is a tribute to hard-working single mothers, specifically her own mother, who raised her alone. Herzi first came to light as an actress (The Secret of the Grain - SFFF 2008, and Singing Jailbirds playing this year at the Sacramento French Film Festival at the Crest Theatre on Sunday, June 12 at 12:30pm) and Good Mother is her second film as a director.

The film was shot in the neighborhood where Herzi grew up and, with a documentary approach, she beautifully captures the difficulties of working class life and the importance of family solidarity. Resilience and humor drive her characters, most of whom are played by non-professional locals whose Marseille accents sing to you whether or not you speak French. At the center of them all is first-time actress Halima Benhamed, a revelation as the tired, devoted, and endlessly patient Nora.

This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of Unifrance and Villa Albertine.

Not Rated (adult situations).

Original Title: Bonne Mère


With her second feature as director, Hafsia Herzi perfects her neorealist approach in the vibrant and chaotic heart of a poor Marseille family supported by the pillar of maternal love. Fabien Lemercier - Cineuropa

Presents itself as a quiet character study… but is more accurately a portrait of a devastated city and the broken system that keeps its citizens as its indebted servants. Steven Warner - In Review Online


Hafsia Herzi


Hafsia Herzi


French, Arabic