There aren’t many people who live their lives without at least a few mummy or daddy issues – they’re almost a rite of passage. And that’s our theme of the day, with many of today’s films examining the tangled and complex relationships we have with our parents. But brace yourselves, these are not your average stories of family squabbles; in these films we realise the extreme and damaging effects of families in disarray. In ‘Game Girls’ we see women forced onto the street by abusive parents, ‘Marilyn’ reveals the devastating consequences of repressed desire and familial rejection, ‘Retablo’ sees a young boy coming to terms with his father’s sexuality, and ‘The Silk and the Flame’ exposes the crippling repression inflicted by Chinese family expectations.
Director: Alina Skrzeszewska
France/Germany 2018 90′, English
CineStar 7, 17:00
Skid Row in Los Angeles is the infamous ‘homeless capital’ of the USA. Anyone who is trying to learn the rules of the game and survive here has a really tough time, as the stories of the two protagonists of this film, Teri and Tiahna, reveal. Life for this lesbian couple is
a constant round of prison, alcoholism and drug peddling, but there is hope, too. Their biographies are typical for the lives of Afro- American women living on the edge of American society. During a workshop initiated by the filmmaker for women in this community, they address their memories and their traumas and embark on a process of transformation during which they come into view as self- determining subjects rather than as victims. Social protests against homelessness in the neighbourhood, or the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign are just as much a part of their lives as is the matter-of-fact way in which they choose to live as lesbians, or their bitter struggle with the authorities for their own four walls. The film’s intimate, observational camerawork helps tell the story of two women who manage to escape Skid Row but who are nonetheless bound by the constraints of their environment.
Director: Martín Rodríguez Redondo
Argentina/Chile 2018 80′, Spanish
CinemaxX 7, 20:00
There’s not much going on in this part of rural Argentina where a shy young man named Marcos lives with his family. Theirs is a modest existence, where gender roles are clearly demarcated. The hot summer doesn’t make life any easier, but money needs to be earned and the herd of cattle must be kept together. Marcos manages to carve out little islands of freedom during his routine; in these moments he likes to put make-up on his childlike face or slip into colourful dresses behind closed doors. Carnival is just around the corner; this year’s event will change Marcos’ life as dramatically as the family’s unexpected relocation. Martín Rodríguez Redondo’s cinematic debut is a tender portrait of youth and initially repressed self-discovery, told with serene understatement, devoid of guiding music. The roar of motorbikes promises both freedom and danger and, although there appears to be no escape from this world, the situation is far from hopeless for at some point young Federico appears on the scene. The images are contemplative and the narrative linear, yet the course taken by the film’s seemingly predictable trajectory is nonetheless surprising. A story based on true events.
Director: Álvaro Delgado-Aparicio L.
Peru/Germany/Norway 2017 101′, Quechua, Spanish
Zoo Palast 1, 15:30
‘Are you not happy working with him?’ · ‘I want to see other things. You will get lost out there.’ · ‘Why can the others go and I can’t?’ · ‘Because you are an artisan not a peasant.’ Segundo sees silence as his only option for dealing with his father Noé’s secret. The 14-year-old lives with his parents in a village high up in the mountains of Peru. Noé is a respected artisan and Segundo’s role model. With loving eye for detail, he artfully crafts altarpieces for church and homes, and is preparing his son to follow in his footsteps. But cracks form in their tight bond. The film takes an unflinching look behind the facades of a seemingly intact village community, in which patriarchal rules are imposed with unrelenting violence. In saturated colours, a panorama view of a world in which a young artist is finding his place.
The Silk and the Flame
Director: Jordan Schiele
87′, Mandarin, English
CineStar 7, 17:00
Unmarried Yao travels from Beijing to his village to celebrate the Chinese New Year – the most important family event in the country. The money he earns in the big city provides not only for his old parents but also his siblings and their children, who take it for granted that they should live off his regular payments as well. His mother, who has been deaf since childhood, looks after his care-dependent father. The latter desperately wants to see his second son married to the right woman, but Yao himself would prefer to find the right man. He has done well in the capital and his outstanding achievements have earned his father’s respect but, ever the dutiful son, he finds himself putting aside his own needs in order to support the family’s continued demands. A touching insight into everyday life in China, where the economic boom of the cities is in stark contrast to the poverty experienced by those living in the countryside. Jordan Schiele depicts the sparseness of village life in timeless black-and-white, juxtaposing loud, chaotic family scenes with Yao’s reflective monologues.