31 December 2014

Best of 2014: #8. Child's Pose (Călin Peter Netzer)

#8. Child's Pose (Poziția copilului). Călin Peter Netzer. Romania.

Winner of the Golden Bear at last year's Berlinale and starring the grand dame of Romanian cinema Luminița Gheorghiu who has appeared in some of the greatest hits of the country's "new wave" of the past decade (Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Aurora, Beyond the Hills), Child's Pose might be the most unusual comedy I've seen in a long time. On its surface, it's a family melodrama about a mother named Cornelia (Gheorghiu) going to all length's to protect her adult son (Bogdan Dumitrache) after he gets into legal trouble after fatally hitting a teenage boy with his car. And on this level, it works beautifully.

Culminating in a moving and upsetting climax, Child's Pose is brilliantly acted throughout and has enough familial drama and tension to fill a standard Lars Von Trier film. But that's the director's clever deception. More than a family drama, Child's Pose is a scathing satire of wealth and privilege. It wasn't until I went back and rewatched the film that I truly noticed the Buñuel-esque touches that reveal Child's Pose's true nature. Is Cornelia a mother who will stop at nothing to keep her son safe, or is she just a woman of power and means trying to subvert justice for her own gain? In fact, she's both of those things, and that's what makes Child's Pose so richly compelling.

With: Luminița Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache, Vlad Ivanov, Florin Zamfirescu, Ilinca Goia, Nataşa Raab, Adrian Titieni, Mimi Branescu

No comments: