An interesting character study about family in 21st Century Germany.
The winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival is a realistic, strange and ultimately extremely compelling piece of Arthouse cinema. Director Angela Schanelec stages a group of really talented actors and actresses in a strange and complex storyline about love, family and responsibilities. There are many meta aspects to this picture with many scenes indirectly referencing the fact that audiences are simply watching the illusion of characters portrayed by actors in a made up story. There is one particular scene involving two characters socialising about art that was so well written and acted, the entire audience clapped. When a young boy disappears without a trace for a week. Until he suddenly reappears again. From what follows is one of the strangest and challenging films I have ever seen. What was difficult to comprehend wasn't a convoluted plot or images that need to be analysed in order to be understood (this was not a David Lynch experience). Most of the scenes made sense, and the characters made sense. The story was just simple, a family having to go through troubles that we all face everyday. There are moments of love and compassion, but also moments of frustration and anger. Sometimes characters make decisions that seem out of place because no character is written to be a particular way. People are complicated and sometimes act out irrationally. This is what make I Was at Home, But such a compelling drama. It is a study about how we as humans interact and treat one another, how real are the emotions we feel for each other? Do we love or hate a certain person? Not a watch for everyone, definitely for fans of arthouse and social dissection films. However anyone looking for a more conventional family drama may leave disappointed as many plot points get lost or solved quickly.
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