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TRIBECA 2024

Crítica: Family Therapy

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- El tercer largometraje de Sonja Prosenc, centrado en una rica familia eslovena, es una brillante sátira social que nos pide que nos riamos y luego empaticemos

Crítica: Family Therapy
Katarina Stegnar, Marko Mandić, Mila Bezjak y Aliocha Schneider en Family Therapy

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

Meet the Kraljs. This nouveau-riche family lives in a beautifully constructed, generously windowed home in the depths of the woods. Every inch of their life is in order: self-proclaimed macho man Aleksander (Marko Mandić) is married to the pristine and proper Olivia (Katarina Stegnar), who together make up the foundation of the perfect family. Their silent but deadly teenage daughter Agata (Mila Bezjak) sports a brunette Sia-esque wig – even every inch of it on her head is in its rightful place. This is the hand that Sonja Prosenc deals us in her tragicomic social satire Family Therapy [+lee también:
entrevista: Sonja Prosenc
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, her third feature, which has just enjoyed its world premiere in Tribeca’s International Narrative Competition.

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From the start, we gain gleeful glimpse after gleeful glimpse of each turn of the family's screw as the invisible cracks in the Kraljs’ façade begin to surface. Agata is forced to be homeschooled owing to Olivia’s overprotectiveness. And along comes the young Francophone man Julien (Aliocha Schneider), whom we learn is Aleksander’s son from a relationship when he was much younger and is to stay with the family for an indeterminate amount of time.

The Kraljs are shaken up like a smoothie in a blender, with Julien’s less-than-elite background creating a rift in the household. When another family comes knocking at their door after their car breaks down, Julien lets them into the house – a sordid, forbidden act for the Kraljs, who look down on the other family with disdain. Perhaps they’re migrants, or even – dare they say the word – refugees? But the young man’s wit and honesty begin to break the carefully constructed shell of Agata, who starts to wage small rebellions against her parents. The orderly glass home, too, begins to crack under the pressure of the turmoil, growing messier and unruly, reflecting the family’s plight.

Cinematic parallels are easy to draw: Family Therapy could be the lovechild of the production design and familial dynamics of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, and the dry, offbeat satirical tone of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster [+lee también:
crítica
tráiler
Q&A: Yorgos Lanthimos
ficha de la película
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. Cinematographer Mitja Ličen tops it off by shooting an incredibly clean, shiny image in every scene to complement the family’s attempted projection. Even the Baroque-inspired scoring by Slovenian band Silence (Primož Hladnik and Boris Benko), which the film states is inspired by Henry Purcell’s late 17th-century opera King Arthur, seamlessly integrates Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: Winter and evokes the scoring of The Favourite, also featuring Purcell and Vivaldi. Lightning-fast string sequences popping up at opportune moments bring a sort of playful ridiculousness to the characters’ motivations.

Prosenc isn’t subtle about what she’s critiquing and how: a clip of an interview with Slavoj Žižek on the so-called European “migrant crisis” plays loudly over the car radio as the Kralj family drives away from the other family in need, their car smoking in the distance. Split into multiple chapters, the film’s earlier dark-comedy elements soar with genuine laugh-out-loud moments cultivated by the family’s obscenely privileged behaviour. As the story spirals on, each of the four characters are given time to explore their own pathways, but it isn’t enough time in sum to round out the story by the end. Moving from a classic dark comedy towards a more conventional drama, the second half ultimately becomes less fulfilling than the first. Some characters we may be able to empathise with – others, not so simply. Regardless, Prosenc successfully encourages us to root for the family’s liberation from their own self-imposed ideals right through to the bitter end.

Family Therapy is a co-production between Slovenia’s MONOO, Italy’s Incipit Film, Norway’s Incitus Films, Croatia’s Wolfgang & Dolly and Serbia’s Living Pictures. Its world sales are managed by MONOO.

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(Traducción del inglés)

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