Everybody In Our Family
by Vladan Petkovic
- A black, sarcastic comedy about a family. A Berlinale 2012 discovery and new proof of the Roumanian new wave's vitality.
Everybody in Our Family [+see also:
interview: Radu Jude
film profile], Radu Jude’s follow-up to The Happiest Girl in the World [+see also:
film profile] has many of the characteristics the new Romanian cinema, but wraps them into a more violent story than is usually expected of the trend. After Cristi Puiu’s Aurora [+see also:
interview: Clara Voda
film profile], which has a violent spirit but little action, Jude’s film stands out as a strong addition.
Marius (Serban Pavlu, from The Happiest Girl in the World and The Death of Mr Lazarescu [+see also:
film profile]) is a divorced dentist who goes to his wife’s place to pick up his daughter for the time limited by law - two days - and take her to the seaside. In addition to Otilia (Mihaela Sirbu, from Medal Of Honor [+see also:
film profile]), five year-old Sofia (Sofia Nicolaescu) lives with her grandma Coca (veteran actress Tamara Buciecanu-Botez) and her mom’s boyfriend Aurel (a familiar face in Romanian film, Gabriel Spahiu, who was last seen in Adalbert's Dream [+see also:
interview: Gabriel Achim
Otilia is not home and Marius learns that, on their return trip from Halkidiki the day before, Sofia became nauseous and feverish and she’s still asleep. So getting on the road, which he is so eager for, will not start so soon. When they finally pack, Aurel decides they should wait for Otilia, as Sofia’s legal guardian - the plan was for Marius to take her to the park, not the coast. This is where the trouble starts, and by the end of the film it will turn into almost a hostage situation.
The characters never stop talking - the script by Jude and Corina Sabau consists predominantly of dialogue, as the setting barely changes from the moment Marius gets to the apartment. The camera work and lighting are very direct and clean, as in most recent Romanian films - it was shot by Andrei Butica, cinematographer of Lazarescu and Francesca [+see also:
film profile]. There is no musical score, and the acting is hyper-realistic, with the little girl the most impressive.
As the film nears its end, the tension rises as frustrated Marius becomes increasingly violent. One might say that he’s an arsehole, but the other characters don’t seem to be much nicer either. While the film evokes Sartre’s famous quote 'Hell is other people', the title comes from Marius explaining to Sofia that “everybody in our family will go to Heaven” - Jude shows that we are all capable of conflict and violence.
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