Mother I Love You / Mammu, es Tevi mīlu (Latvia, 2013)

directed by Jānis Nords, drama, 83 min, eng subtitles
written by Jānis Nords
with Kristofers Konovalovs, Vita Vārpiņa, Matīss Livčāns, Indra Briķe

An insignificant reprimand at school launches a downward spiral of emotion and adventure in the life of 12-year old Raimonds, a likeable, average boy from a single-parent family in modern-day Latvia. Raimonds does everything in his power to prevent his mother from finding out about the mischief he's caused. His pranks become misdemeanour; his misdemeanours become felonies; his felonies become crimes until he finds himself in an impossible situation - a critical junction in his life where the stakes are enormous.

Told entirely from Raimonds's point of view, the film exquisitely captures all of the drama and desperation of a young boy caught in a difficult situation from his unique perspective. Sensitively portrayed, the film describes the difficult path a mother and son must travel if they are to rebuild their relationship. Even though the film is set against the backdrop of a young boy's loneliness, the turmoil of pre-pubescence, the jockeying for survival, it manages to end on an optimistic and tender note. This story may seem simple in certain ways but it's a fine example of a well-told coming of age tale and an accurate representation of childhood dramas, bolstered by fine performances.

Berlin IFF 2013 (Generation KPlus Grand Prix for Best Feature Film)
Los Angeles FF 2013 (Best Narrative Feature)
Tel Aviv International Children's FF 2013 (Best Film)
Zlín FF 2013 (European Children Film Award)