The modern well-to-do Czech family is skewered in director Olmo Omerzu’s mordant drama of free-wheeling parents, unfettered teenagers, and their faithful, long-suffering border collie.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2016
Laced with subtle irony and black humour, this bone-dry domestic drama unravels the blissful ignorance of a well-to-do Prague family with the same cool precision of Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (NZIFF14). Leaving their two teenagers to fend for themselves, a liberal couple goes ocean sailing with their pet border collie Otto, content with the notion that their responsibility as parents can be fulfilled via occasional Skype calls from the tropics. Their 15-year-old son, meanwhile, takes advantage of this delusion, cutting school and fooling around with his older sister’s coolly promiscuous best friend.
As this unmoored family unit begins to lose its bearings both at home and abroad, a particular kind of European malaise sets in. Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu’s trick is couching his wry, almost anthropological observations on bourgeois indulgence in curious plot twists and diversions: not least, a nail-biting adventure involving Otto the dog, which clinches his role as the family member least prepared for, but most deserving an escape from the others.
“Fun and games for all the family take a mordant turn in Family Film a story of parental negligence and youthful irresponsibility that young and old might prefer to watch in separate rooms. Irony-attuned audiences, however, will find plenty to enjoy in this elegant, darkly unpredictable fusion of ashen black comedy and urgent domestic drama, in which a standard home-alone setup degenerates into a tense worst-case scenario from every perspective – even that of the family border collie... Don’t hold your breath for a Disney remake.” — Guy Lodge, Variety