|Index||3 reviews in total|
Családi tüzfészek (aka Family Nest) is an intimate portrayal of a
family slowly disintegrating under various pressures in late 1970s
communist Hungary. The plot of the film is deceptively simple, with the
occasional momentous event--including one that's relatively shocking,
but plot in a conventional sense is not the focus here.
What makes Family Nest so masterful is director writer/director Béla Tarr's skill at suggesting layers of emotion, commentary and meaning through cinematography and staging. For example, early in the film there is an extended scene of the family that is the film's focus eating dinner in their crowded apartment with some friends. Tarr has the camera crammed in a small room with the cast, necessitating that almost the entire scene is shot in close-ups. There are numerous conversations and an increasing amount of bickering occurring simultaneously. The viewer cannot escape a sense of claustrophobia and chaos. Later in the scene, Tarr trains his camera on the family's television, which is showing a news story about communism. There is irony between the ideological foundations necessary for communism and what we see occurring among just this one small group.
As the film progresses, Tarr treats us to many more ironies and juxtapositions, such as the overbearing father's distorted view of his sons versus their "true nature", a carnival versus addiction and sickness, and the futility of government housing policy versus the practical requirements for keeping a husband and wife together.
Some scenes--and especially the final two shots, last far longer than many viewers will be accustomed to, but through such unusual techniques, Tarr manages to "dig in" to emotional and dramatic spaces that could not otherwise be reached. Like much of his work, it suggests a reconceptualization of what cinema can do and how it can do it.
Bela Tarr's first full length film is a bleak indictment of communist housing policy; A young couple and their daughter are forced to live with the husband's family in a tiny flat in which tempers frequently flare. The close camera work and grainy documentary style capture the claustrophobia and indignity of life at close quarters with those you don't like; the father-in-law is a malevolent Iago-esquire figure, forever whispering conspiracies to his son. The couple are desperate to leave, but, as their meetings with the government officials show, there is no prospect of escape for years to come; This is despite many usable flats standing empty, unused for bureaucratic reasons.. We learn more of the characters as the second half of the film effectively becomes a series of monologues, which further convey what a bleak place 1970's Hungary was.
If you watched this movie, than you don't need to read this review. I have discovered Tarr with Satantango and since then I have been watching everything that is available on DVDs. This one is skin-close to East Europeans (like me). It is now known that following 1945 this part of the World was programmed to live in poverty, promiscuity and suffocation. Please refer to KGB documents on implementing poor public transportation, crowding people in apartments, denying any individualization, making lives be bared and not lived. Tarr, by means unknown to me, divulges this and also brings the camera so close to skin making any escapism impossible. Suffocated in the family nest. It's the story of all of us living that nightmare. I am 50. My father's inebriated breath still lingers on my pillow.
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