Everybody in our Family

Radu Jude
Romania 2012 | 107 Min. | OmeU

There’s no way around it: modern man reacts to stress much like his stone-age fore­fa­thers, his phys­i­cal chem­istry decid­ing within sec­onds on fight or flight. Aside from the morn­ing hang­over, his par­ents, the battle with nico­tine and car prob­lems, Marius Vizereanu’s great­est stress factor is the immi­nent visit to the blend­ed family where his young daugh­ter Sofia lives with her grand­moth­er, mother and her new boyfriend Aurel. Marius is an onlook­er there at best, but today he wants to pick up Sofia to take her on a sea­side outing. As soon as the camera enters the cramped flat with him, it is as if trans­formed into a mea­sur­ing device. Each rise in blood pres­sure, every emo­tion, sar­cas­tic remark, threat, or self-abase­ment is record­ed in metic­u­lous fash­ion, includ­ing any amount of dirty laun­dry and unfin­ished busi­ness. Although Marius’ visit is brief and we expe­ri­ence it in real time, the ever-broad spec­trum of feel­ings that go hand in hand with the family cosmos means the excel­lent actors have plenty to draw on.

Expe­ri­ence is nearly always the parody of an idea. This also applies to the idea of family. Fight or flight can help when it comes to irre­solv­able family bonds. Or even both.