The agony of family life at Karlovy Vary
by Boyd van Hoeij
Two Competition films from directing duos at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival look at the everyday difficulties of family life: the Polish Saviour Square [+see also:
film profile] and the Spanish Pudor [+see also:
Saviour Square is the new film from writer-directors Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze. Kos-Krauze makes her debut as a co-director on the film, after having co-written Krauze’s My Nikifor [+see also:
film profile], which won three awards, including Best Film, at Karlovy Vary in 2005.
Their new film is an intense contemporary drama in which a working class couple is forced to move in with his mother after they see all the money they invested in a new flat go up in smoke when the construction company goes bankrupt.
Produced by Studio Filmowe Zebra, Canal + Polska and Telewizja Polska, Saviour Square is an unflinching portrayal of the friction and small domestic cruelties brought about by harsh times that can make life unbearable. Jowita Miondlikowska and Arkadiusz Janiczek, who play the couple, and veteran actress Ewa Wencel as the mother fully inhabit their characters. They were also involved in the development of the screenplay.
Family life is equally suffocating in the Spanish competition entry Pudor, an adaptation of the Santiago Roncagliolo novella by brothers David and Tristán Ulloa. After the loss of their grandmother, a couple with two children and their live-in grandfather try to get by, but it is not easy. Grandfather (Celso Bugallo) is hardly aware he has lost his wife, Juan Luis (Nancho Novo) has difficulties telling his wife (Elvira Minguez) something important about his own health and their children struggle with their own feelings of love. The film was produced by Tesela and is sold internationally by Sogepaq.
Both films are relentless in their attention to human behaviour, never glamorising family life or going for easy melodrama. Instead, they look at the loneliness of each individual in the crowd and how much energy it takes to simply live.
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