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La casa de Mama Icha (The House of Mama Icha)
La casa de Mama Icha (The House of Mama Icha)

The trailer debuted for La Casa de Mama Icha (The House of Mama Icha), the debut feature documentary from Colombian director and cinematographer Óscar Molina debuting as part of POV’s 34th season, on Monday, October 18, 2021 on PBS and at pov.org.

The documentary follows María Dionisia Navarro, otherwise known as Mama Icha, at ninety-three, she feels that the end of her life is near. Despite protestations from her family, she spends her days focusing on just one thing: returning to her native village of Mompox in northern Colombia. Mama Icha dreams of passing her final years taking comfort in the landscapes of her youth, walking along the Magdalena River at dusk, surrounded by her relatives and neighbors in the courtyard of the house that she painstakingly had built during her years of absence, with the money she sent from abroad.

Thirty years prior, Mama Icha had emigrated to the United States to help her daughter with the care of her children, Mama Icha’s grandchildren, and remained ever since. Now, against the best wishes of her family in the U.S. who feel that she’s built an admirable life in Philadelphia complete with Social Security, a community that supports her, and access to important senior resources, Mama Icha boards a plane and flies back to Colombia where she meets her sons, Gustavo and Alberto, who have been in charge of her house while she’s been gone.

But upon returning, the idyllic world of her memories is put up against a harsh reality of deteriorating family relationships and broken expectations. The confrontation is disappointing and forces Mama Icha to consider exactly how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the notion of home that she’s longed for so long.

“La Casa de Mama Icha is a declaration of love to one’s own land,” said director Óscar Molina. “In a time of great displacements, of fragmentation of the bonds of belongingness, of the preponderance of certain hegemonic cultural values, Mama Icha’s story reinforces the relevance of a sense of rootedness. She, heroically and with the strength of ancestral thought, faces great obstacles to meet the goal of living her last days and dying in the land of her origin.La casa de Mama Icha also mirrors family conflicts and how difficult they are, especially when elders start depending on the care of others. Altogether, this story invites us to think about the multiple meanings of the experience of ‘home’.”

Watch the trailer for Mama Icha.

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