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DocPoint: Family Relations

Hosted by a member of the Helsinki Movie Group
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Took place 2 months ago
Wed 29 Jan 19:30 - 21:15

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An excellent study of authoritarianism. It has two equally important qualities: one is a deep respect for the victims and their suffering; the other is the courage to face the autocrat and give him every possibility to present and defend himself. That the dictator demonstrates no need for defense and is thus denying any guilt and responsibility is probably the key feature of authoritarianism. The brilliance by which the filmmaker makes this gradually visible is breathtaking.
Family Relations is no observational documentary. The scenes are well studied and prepared, and, in addition, reworked in post-production: from the very start, the protagonists enter and exit the field of vision in an instant, as if transported by an invisible hand. This creates a dream-like atmosphere in which everything seems far from the real.
As the film unfolds, we understand there is good reason for this. It very well describes a society in which a group of people – grown-up men – treat other members of society – children and women – with the lightness of a cartoon: having absolute power over their existence, they enter and exit their subjects as they please. Most probably, this also represents the lightness well by which these men experience the world they live in, their relations with others, and their responsibilities; but, what about all other members of such society – women and children, the victims?