Home For The Weekend

Home For The Weekend

***1/2

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Family meetups are often interesting affairs. One always tries to put on an acceptable societal mask. Then the masks slip, and we reveal our intimate secrets. The family remains, but rarely unchanged.

The film begins with preparations for a pleasant family weekend. Each member of the family has revelations. Marko is a surreptitious divorcee, unwilling to share his six-month separation with the wider family. Gunter, Marko's father, decides to quit his long publishing career to write a book detailing an unexplored chapter in Abyssinian history. Gitte, the mother, has not been taking her antidepressant medication, and announces it, finally standing on "solid ground". Jakob is a failed dentist, losing thousands every month.

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The family unites. They share food, time and conversation. There's even time for a short rather touching musical number, a series of affectionate rhyming couplets about romantic love enduring in spite of time. Slowly, their secrets are revealed and drama ensues, with old scars splitting open. Gitte, in a moment of lucidity, rebels against the patronising treatment that accompanied her depression - "Don't you realise how disrespectful it is to treat someone like furniture?"

Hans-Christian Schmid's film is a gently woven tale about the familial bonds that unify us, and about how, no matter how decent some of them are, they can be restrictive and prevent individual family members from flowering into the better people they can be. There's a bitter yet self-aware finale which drives this home. It's a haunting, well-directed piece of cinema.

Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2012
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A family reunion becomes difficult as secrets are revealed and frustrations expressed.
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Director: Hans-Christian Schmid

Writer: Bernd Lange

Starring: Lars Eidinger, Corinna Harfouch, Sebastian Zimmler, Ernst Stötzner

Year: 2012

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: Germany

Festivals:

BIFF 2012
EIFF 2012

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