A graduate from Prague’s FAMU originally from Slovenia, Olmo Omerzu released his Family Film at San Sebastián IFF.
Already in his graduation film, A Night Too Young (Příliš mladá noc, 2012), Omerzu explored the issues of growing up and confronting the immature children’s world with the reality of adulthood. It was a story about two boys who on a New Year’s Day find themselves in the same flat with a girl and two adult men; here, they are abruptly introduced to sexuality and a new world that is completely different from the one they used to know.
In his second feature-length fiction, Omerzu continues to dwell on the theme of premature adolescence; this time around, though, he combines it with several secondary storylines that are interweaved together in a way that makes it hard to identify the main leitmotif. We follow 15-year-old Erik and his older sister Anna whose parents have embarked on an extensive exotic voyage together with Otto the family dog. In the meantime, their children are supposed to take care of themselves and their spacious flat. Each of them uses the opportunity to bring along their respective best friends to stay with them for a while; this fact essentially affects Erik’s behaviour, to the point at which their uncle Martin is forced to take over the situation. What do their parents have to say? Will they have anything to say at all? We don’t know as their means of communication is severed all of a sudden.
Since the structure of the story is supported by several storylines and a stream of substantial situations, the audience has no time to become bored for a single moment. Whenever we seem to dwell too long in one location, Omerzu simply switches the setting and provides the necessary boost. Although the camera follows various contrasting scenes, it brings them together in a single visual style dominated by cold colours that lend the picture a standoffish, sometimes even sterile atmosphere.
Painting the portrait of a modern bourgeois family that conceals too many cracks and ruptures under the seemingly perfect façade, the film is highly recommended to all connoisseurs of good, intelligent drama as well as the fans of actor Karel Roden who convincingly renders one of the lead characters while being supported by an equally experienced cast of colleagues.
By Monika Mahútová
Translated by Daniel Borský