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Earth Mama 15

Savanah Leaf, US, UK, 2023, 101m.

Winner of the Best Debut Director Award at The British Independent Film Awards.

With two children in foster care, Gia, a pregnant single mother pitted against the system, fights to reclaim her family. In her close-knit Bay Area community, she works to make a life for herself and her kids.

The Garden Cinema View:

Earth Mama is a film about flawed motherhood, the inequalities of the state system and Black female comradery. Savana Leaf's very impressive debut never justifies or preaches, but instead just follows its central character like an objective bystander.  Performance, cinematography and rhythm are elegantly restrained, embracing a ‘sensual’ social realism that focuses on the unspoken.  

Rapper Tia Nommore delivers an outstanding performance as a deeply flawed mother caught in an impossible situation. Even when she disobeys people who try to help her, or makes controversial decisions, we still stand by her, as it is obvious she  loves and cares for her children deeply.    

Despite the brooding tone, Earth Mama ends on a hopeful (albeit uncomfortable) note that leaves a long lasting impression. Understated, patient, and elliptic - Earth Mama is a lesson in empathy and filmmaking.

Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, Doechii

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