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“MAMACRUZ”: A Grandmother’s Journey to Self-Love


PARK CITY, UTAH – JANUARY 20: (L-R) José Ortuño, Patricia Ortega, Ana Souza, Kiti Mánver, Sara Gómez, and Olmo Figueredo González-Quevedo attend the 2023 Sundance Film Festival “MAMACRUZ” Premiere at Library Center Theatre on January 20, 2023 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

By Vanessa Zimmer

Once you watch MAMACRUZ, the “body of Christ” is going to take on a whole new meaning.

The Spanish-language film, which opened Friday, January 20, in the World Drama competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, follows a devout Catholic woman who spends much of her time at Mass and volunteering in her church, repairing and sewing new garments for Christ, the Virgin, and other sacred figures.

Her granddaughter, Viky, affectionately calls her Mamacruz. The young girl lives with her grandparents while their daughter (Viky’s mother) is in Vienna not eating enough, being too skinny, and pursuing her dream of being a dancer.

It is while idly learning to use Viky’s electronic tablet that Mamacruz (award-winning Spanish actress Kiti Mánver) accidentally catches a momentary glimpse of porn on the internet — sending her on a journey of self-discovery and self-love, as well as to a new understanding of her dancer daughter.

Writer-director Patricia Ortega says in her Meet the Artist video that she was inspired to make the film after discovering a photo of her mother posing nearly nude with a robe hanging off her shoulders. “I knew her as my mother, but I didn’t know her as a woman,” Ortega says.

At the post-film Q&A Friday, through an interpreter, Ortega explains that the film is about freedom: “We have to get over sexual shame, and I think this is something we need to get over no matter what you have between your legs.”

The film is humorous, erotic, and a sort of satire on religious oppression. After Mamacruz joins a women’s sex therapy group, she asks her thoroughly confused husband: “Aren’t you tired of being a flowerpot?” 

Light another candle on the altar.

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