Interviewing women who lost children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict results in undeniably affecting monologues, but thesp-turned-helmer Barbara Cupisti’s take differs little from that of ambulance-chasing news hounds who ask grieving families “how do you feel?” “Mothers” ends where it should begin, with mothers from all sides coming together for support and strategizing, but Cupisti shows little interest in what positive changes can come out of the tragedies. Given the easy emotional resonance, pic should find plenty of fest takers, though PBS and cable will generate larger auds.
Women interviewed include Israelis whose sons were killed on patrol duty or by suicide bombers, and Palestinian mothers who lost children in Israeli attacks as well as one mother whose son was a suicide bomber. Unfortunately, no attempt is made to explain the political situation leading to the deaths. A running thread shows a van tooling around the country that appears to be an investigative team seeking subjects to interview: In pic’s final moments, however, it is revealed that the van is bringing women to a support group meeting. HD quality, including gruesome footage of bomb aftermaths, is good, while music is uniformly elegiac.